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COPYRIGHT DEPOSIT 



OUR SLAYE STATES 



III. 






Vs. 

1i 



y 



/ 

A JOURNEY 



BACK COUNTRY 



B Y 



FKEDEKICK LAW OLMSTED, 

AUTnOU OF "a .TOUKNEY in the SKABOAED slave states," "a journey in TEXAS, 
'•ATALKS AND TALKS OP AK AMERICAN FARMER IN ENGLAND," ETC. 



NEW YORK: 

N s . 5 k 1 >r E R K R S T R K K T . 



1 -SCO. 




•Of 6 



Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1S60, by 

MASON BROTHERS, 

In tlie Clerk's Office of tlie District Court of the United States, for the Southern 
District of New York 



STFTBEOTYPED BY 

SMITH & McDOUGAL, 

82 & 84 Beeknian St. 



C. A. ALVOUD, Pi:;M; 



P Ft E F A C E 



This is the third volume of a work, the first of which was a narra- 
tive of a journey in the sea-board districts of the older slave States ; 
the second, of a rapid tour west of the Alleghanies, and of a winter 
spent in Texas. This volume concludes and somewhat focalizes the 
observations of those, its narrative being, in part, of the hill-country 
people, and mainly of those who are engaged in, or are most directly 
affected by, the great business of the South — the production of cotton. 
The record of facts, except as regards the domestic life of the people, 
is less elaborate than in the other volumes, because, reference being 
made to previous observations, less detail is needed to give a full state- 
ment of tiiat which was seen by the writer. Facts of general observation 
and conclusions of judgment form a larger part of this volume than of 
the others, because they are appropriately deduced from all preceding 
details. It was prepared for the press nearly in its present form and 
announced for publication three years ago. A chapter was then in- 
tended to be added upon the natural history of southern politics, before 
preparing which, I was interrupted by unanticipated duties. Upon re- 
cent examination it was found that the facts recorded had not lost sig- 
nificance, and that the volume might be published without revision or 
addition. As the topic of slave insurrection is considerably discussed, I 
will here observe that all its narrative portion had been printed, and 
that all the matter of the last chapter bearing upon that subject had 
been written, some time before the John Brown plot is supposed to 
have been formed. 

The controll-'^g considerations which now induce the publication of 
the volume are, first, that after publishing the former volumes, to leave 
untold what is reported in this, would be to leave my story untrue 
through incompleteness; secondly, that the agitation growing out of 
the condition of the South is now graver, and the truth more impor- 



VI PREFACE. 

tant to be known, than ever before. Before preparing this volume, I 
had given more than two years' careful study simply to the matter of 
fact of the condition of the people, especially the white people, living 
under a great variety of circumstances wdiere slavery is not pro- 
hibited. There has been no publication of observations made Avith 
similar advantages, and extended over so large a field. I may add 
that few men could have been so little inclined to establish pre- 
viously formed opinions as I was vWien I began my journey in 
the South. I left a farm in New York to examine farms in Yirginia. 
The Fillmore compromises had just been accomplished ; a reaction from 
a state of suspicion and unwholesome excitement was obvious in the 
public mind. Looking upon slavery as an unfortunate circumstance, 
for which the people of the South were in no wise to blame, and the 
abolition of which was no more immediately practicable than the ab- 
rogation of hospitals, penitentiaries, and boarding-schools, it was with 
the distinct hope of aiding in this reaction, and of aiding those disposed 
to consider the subject of slavery in a rational, philosophical, and con- 
ciliatory spirit, that I undertook, at the suggestion of the editor of the 
New York Times, to make a personal study of the ordinary condition 
and habits of the people of the South. I believed that much mischief 
had resulted from statements and descriptions of occurrences which 
were exceptional, as if they were ordinary phenomena attending 
slavery. I had the most unquestioning faith, that while the fact of 
slavery imposed much unenviable duty upon the people of the South, 
and occasioned much inconvenience, the clear knowledg^e of v/hich 
would lead to a disposition of forbearance, and encourage a respectful 
purpose of assistance (such as soon after this found an expression in 
the organization of the Southern Aid Society), there was at the same 
time a moral condition of the human race, in connection with slav- 
ery — that there was an expression of peculiar virtues in the South, 
too little known or considered, the setting forth of which would do 
good. 

I will not here conceal for a moment that I was disappointed in the 
actual condition of the people of the South, citizen and slave; that the 
more thoroughly and the longer I was acquainted with tliat which is 
ordinary and general, the greater vfas my disappointment. In the 
present a-'pect of affairs, it would be an affectation of moderation if I 
refrained from expressing my conviction that the larger part of the 
people of the South are in a condition which can not be too much de- 



PREFACE. Vn 

plored, the extension and aggravation of the causes of which can not 
be too firmly and persistently guarded against. 

The subjection of the negroes of the South to the mastership of the 
whites, I still consider justifiable and necessary, and I fully share the 
general ill-will of the people of the North toward any suggestion of 
their interfering politically to accomplish an immediate abolition of 
slavery. This is not from idolatry of a parchment, or from a romantic 
attachment to the Avord Union ; it certainly is not from a low estima- 
tion of the misfortune of slavery, or of the flagrant wrong of the laws 
and customs of the slave States. It is from a fair consideration of the 
excellence of our confederate constitution when compared with other 
instruments of human association, and from a calculation of the chances 
of getting a better, after any sort of revolution at this time, together 
with the chances of thereby accomplishing a radical and satisfactory 
remedy for the evils which must result from slavery. I do not see 
that a mere setting free of the blacks, if it could be accomplished, 
would surely remedy these evils. An extraction of the bullet does 
not at once remedy the injury of a gun-shot wound; it sometimes 
aggravates it. 

It does not follow, however, that the evils of slavery must continue 
to be as great as at present. Nor does it follow that consideration of 
these evils at the North must be either futile or impertinent, for they 
are by no means limited in their action to the people of the Slave 
States, and there are matters in the discussion of which the people of 
the North have a constitutional right to be heard, the decision of which 
may greatly help to perpetuate or to limit them. 

The emancipation of the negroes is evidently not a matter to be ac- 
complished by this generation, but again it does not follow that even 
emancipation can not be anticipated, or the way of accomplishing it in 
some degree prepared. The determination that it shall not be, is much 
more impracticable, fanatical, and dangerous, than argument for imme- 
diate abolition. The present agitation of the country results less from 
the labors of abolitionists than from the conceit, avarice, and foUy of 
wealthy owners of slaves. These constantly, and by organized action, 
endeavor to reverse the only line of policy by which safety and peoce 
can, in the nature of things, be secured to the people of the South ; for 
there are moral forces, as well as material, in nature, and there is the 
same folly in expecting to overcome the one as the other. 

It would be presumptuous in any man to predict when, or in what 



Vlll • PREFACE. 

manner, slavery is to end, but, if the owners of slaves were so disposed, 
it appears to me that there would be no difficulty whatever, politically, 
financially, or socially, in diminishing the evil of slavery, and in pre- 
paring the way for an end to it. It is to be hoped that elements will, 
by-and-by, come into play, the nature of which we can not now im- 
agine, which will make a peaceful end more practicable than it now 
appears. Whitney's invention has, to all appearance, strengthened the 
hold of slavery a thousand times more than all labors directly intended 
for that purpose. A botanical discovery, a new motive power, the de- 
cease of some popular fallacy, a physical, or mental, or moral epidemic^ 
a theological reformation, a religious revival, a Avar, or a great man 
fortunately placed, may, in a single year, do more to remove difficulties 
than lias thus far been done in this century. 

Popular prejudice, if not popular instinct, points to a separation of 
black from white as a condition of the abolition of slavery. It may h& 
hoped that something will occur which will force, or encourage and 
facilitate, a voluntaiy and spontaneous separation. If this is to be 
considered as a contingency of emancipation, it is equally to be antici- 
pated that an important emigration of whites to the slave districts will 
precede it.* I do not now say that it is, or is not, right or desirable, 
that this should be so, but, taking men as they are, I think a happy and 
peaceful association of a large negro, with a large white population, can 
not at present be calculated on as a permanent thing. I think that the 
emancipation from slavery of such part of the existing actual negro 
population as shall remain in the country until the white population is 
sufficiently christianized, and civilized, and properly educated to under- 
stand that its interests are identical with its duty, will take place grad- 
ually, and only after an intermediate period of systematic pupilage, 
restraint, and encouragement, of such a nature as is suggested in this 
volume. 

To be more expUcit : it seems to me to be possible that a method of 
finally emancipating the slaves and of immediately remedying man}'- 
of the evils of slavery, without an annihilation of that which the State 

* If gold fields as attractive as those of California should, for instance, 
be discovered and opened to adventurers in Mississippi, slavery would be 
practically abolished in tliat State within two years. Cotton culture would 
be more profitable work than gold digging, but not until something else had 
once drav.-n free laborers to a cotton district in large numbers. 



PREFACE. IX 

has made property, or conceded to be held as property, may be event- 
ually based on these accepted facts : That a negro's capacities, like a 
horse's, or a dog's, or a white man's, for all industrial purposes, in- 
cluding cotton-growing and cotton-picking, must- be enlarged by a 
voluntary, self-restrained, self-urged, and self-directed exercise of those 
capacities. That a safely-conducted cultivation and education of the 
capacities of the slaves will, of necessity, increase the value of the 
slaves, and that the slaves may thus be made to pay, year by 3^ear, for 
their own gradual emancipation. 

I do not suppose that in one generation or two the effects of cen- 
turies of barbarism and slavery are to be extinguished, I do not thinlv 
negroes are ever to become Teutons or Celts, but I do suppose that 
negroes may become thoroughly civilized, thoroughly independent in- 
dividuals, and thus of tenfold more value in the commonweahh than 
they are. I know, for a certainty, that the most dogged have a ca- 
pacity for some improvement, even within their own lives ; that the 
most valuable cotton-pickers are capable of being made yet more 
valuable; and I do not believe that even ten years of careful, judicious, 
and economical cultivation of this capacity, with all the negroes of a 
large plantation, would fail to earn some pecuniary as well as moral 
reward. 

But a vain delusion possesses the South that slavery carries with it 
certain defined advantages for the master class. (I do believe, after 
a careful study, that there are no such advantages.) Owing to this 
delusion, moral forces in nature, as irresistible as the laws of climate, 
are bhndly disregarded, or held in contempt, and the hope lives that a 
power, found paramount within the South itself, must yet control the 
continent. This hope makes hght of all present evils growing out of 
slavery, or attributes them to causes which it gives the purpose to re- 
move. ISTot till it is decisively and finally dispelled, can any general 
policy for remedying the evils of slavery be initiated, or even an indi- 
vidual slaveholder be permitted to govern his property in a manner 
consistent with what would otherwise be the requirements of Chris- 
tianity, civilization, and a sound and far-seeing economy. 

In the preparation of this book, my conscious first purpose has been 
to obtain and report facts of ordinary life at the South, not to supply 
arguments. Lest it should be thought I had some concealed purpose 
to advocate by my selection of facts, I have here frankly set forth the 
inner plans and theories for which it might have been agreeable to me 



X PREFACE. 

to have gained the approval of its readers. The facts of my personal 
observation fill the greater part of the book, though I have not neg- 
lected others obtained at second hand in the South. There are various 
theories and purposes fur which these facts may be turned to account. 
Their influence need not be, and should not be, the same with all 
that it has been with me, but I beheve that there are few who will 
chance to read to Avhom they will not afford some entertainment and 
instruction. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I. 

THE VALLEY OF THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI. 

A Cottou Overseer, 11 ; Stupidity of Poor Wliites ; The Landscape ; Kose 
Hedges, 13 ; Tlie Mississippi Forest ; Plantations of Northern Louisiana ; 
A Craelc Ne<?ro Gansr, 14 ; Good Condition of Slaves ; Plantation Pesi- 
dences; A Wealthy Planter; Cotton Fields overran by Grass, 15 ; A Court 
Town ; Dress, 16 ; Toilet Service, 17 ; Important to Business Men ; Kob- 
bers ; Runawavs ; Hill Side Cotton Culture, 18 ; Horizontal Plowina; ; Aban- 
doned Plantations ; Waste, 19 ; Large Plantations ; Great Wealth, 20 ; 
Conversation with a Nervous Planter ; Education ; A Swindler, 21 ; Negro 
Property on the Frontier ; Negro Attachments ; Gambling ; A Mississippi 
Fast Man, 23; Treating, 24 ; Education; Institutes; Advertisement; Swell 
Heads : Big Plantations, 25 ; Inhospitable ; Going to the North, 26 ; Rapid 
Increase of Wealth in Mississippi ; The Conseqences ; Social Condition, 27 ; 
The Lower Law; Runaways, 29; Wearing Arms, and a Reason for it, 30; 
Devotion and Temperance, 31 ■, Refusing a Noble Title, 32 ; Where are all 
the Poor People? Experience of a Foreign Touiist; Peddling, 33; x\n Ole 
Dutch Cuss ; Natchez, 34 ; Villas ; Landscape Gardening ; Young Swell 
Heads, 35 ; A Respectable Turnout ; Horses, 36 ; The Bluft', 37 ; An Ele- 
vated Viev/ of the Mississippi, 38; Italians, 39 ; Education, 40 ; Labor and 
Wages ; Food of the Slaves, 41 ; Inhospitality, 42 _; Benighted, 43 ; An 
Overseer at Home, 44; Review of a First-rate Plantation, 46 ; Deserters and 
Detectives, 47 ; Driving, 48 ; Days and Hours of Labor, 49 ; Hard Work ; 
Pay, 50 ; Tobacco ; Sweets and Sunday Tricks, 51. 



CHAPTER II. 

THE PROPERTY ASPECT OF SLAVERY. 

The Property Aspect of Slavery ; An Alabama Tradesman, 55 ; A Hard Mas- 
ter; Overseers, 56 ; Wages, 57 ; Economical Treatment of Slaves; Planters' 
Evidence, 58 ; Value of a Slave Life, 62 ; The Moral Embarrassments at- 
tcndina: the Ownership of Human Beings as atfecting Plantation Economy; 
Lar^e Slave Estates, 64 ; Slavery as a Missionary System, 65 ; Embarrass- 
ments, 68 ; Slavery as an Educative System, 70 ; Embarrassments, 71 ; Slave 
Management on the largest Scale ; Description of a Plantation, 72 ; Over- 
seers ;" Isolation ; 73; Slave Habitation ; Food, 74 ; Slave Sporting, 75 ; The 
Medicine Chest ; Plantation Work-House ; Domestic Manufactures, 76 ; 
Medical Survev, 77 ; Tiie Mechanics, 78 ; Clothes and Cleanliness, 79 ; 
Hours of Labor ; Overseers, 80 ; Plow Girls ; Field Working Women ; 



Xll CONTENTS 



Doofged Work, 81 ; Discipline ; Mutiny, 82 ; ranishment, 83 ; A Skulker, 
84 ; A Girl Flogged, 85 ; The Necessity for Severe Punishment exists with 
Slavery; Eunaways, 87; Names, 88; Moral Education of the Negroes, 89; 
Black, Wliite, and Yellow, 90 j Religion, 92; The Metaphysics of the South, 
93 ; The Keligious Purpose of Emancipation, 98 ; Southern Arguments, 99 ; 
A Bugaboo, 1(30 ; Southern Church Edifices, 101 ; Soutliern Prisons, lu2 ; 
Criminal Cases ; Plantation Justice, 103 ; The West India Emancipation 
Question Misapprehended, 104 ; Religious Characteristics of the Slaves, 105 ; 
Religious Amusements and Excitements, 106 ; Religious Instruction of 
Slaves, 107 ; Religious Instruction Prevented, 108 ; The Church Recum- 
bent, 109 ; Slave Teachers and Preachers, 110 ; Matrimonial Morality, 112 ; 
Cliastity- Its Rarity among "Religious" Slaves, 113; Restraint upon the 
White Clergy, 115; The Education 'of the White Race under the Necessities 
of the Present System, 116 ; Absenteeism, 119 ; Planters at Watering Places, 
120 ; The Economy of Large Plantations, and the Accumulation of Wealth, 
121; The Evilsof the Internal Slave Trade; of Large Plantations ; Southern 
Evidence, 122 ; Condition of Poor Whites ; Similar Results of Slavery in the 
West Indies, 123 ; Eftects of Emancipation on Poor Whites, 124. 



CHAPTER III. 

A TRIP INTO A PART OF NORTHERN MISSISSIPPI. 

A Trip into Northern Mississippi ; Vicksburg ; Wharf Boats ; Hotel Arrange- 
ments; Memphis, 125 ; A Mississippi First Class Hotel, and a Grand Repu- 
diation Dinner, 126 ; A Stage-Coacli Svvindle, 128 ; Small Plantations ; The 
Judge and the Colonel, 129 ; Education, ISO ; A Blackleg Gentleman ; Al- 
most an " Affair," 131 ; Camp Meeting, 132 ; Tlieology and Prof mity, 133 ; A 
Youncf Gentleman completing his Education, 135 ; Inland Navigation, 136 ; 
Poor Whites from the Carlyle Stand-point, 137 ; A Malthasian ; A Sunny 
Valley of Northern Mississippi, 139 ; The Southern Pioneer, 141 ; Slaves 
Managing Themselves ; Slaves Reading, 143 ; Piety, Swearing, and Dancing, 
144; Dancing on a Plank, 145 ; Horticulture on the Plantation, 146 ; A Tree 
Peddler, 147 ; A Surprising Collection, 148 ; The Judgment Trumpet ; Drinks 
and the Temperance Question, 150 ; A Clever Slave, 151 ; Cotton and Corn, and 
their Conveyances ; Railroad Business ; Droves of Slaves for a Market, 152 ; 
Cliaracter of Slave Dealers ; Generous Allowances, 153 ; Precocity and Mo- 
rahty of Slaves ; Absentee Husbands, 154; Market Value of Piety and of 
Color, 155; The Moral of the Main Question, 156; Settling, 157. 



CHAPTER IV. 

THE INTERIOR COTTON DISTRICTS. 

The Interior Cotton Districts ; Who and What are " The Planters," 158 ; 
Price of Plantation Land ; Towns and Villages, 159 ; Size of Plantations ; 
Number of Negroes on the Middle and Small Class of Plantations ; Char- 
acter of Planters, 160; Young Planters and their Education; Style of 
Living, 161 ; Scenery of Central Mississippi ; Diary Resumed, 162 ; *Home 
Life ol'an Interior Plantation, 163 ; Bad Stable Arrangements, 164; Another 
Plantation Home ; An Honest Neofro ; Pork and Molasses, 165 ; Anotlier 
Plantation Home, 166 ; A Bad Night, 167 ; Another Bad Stable, 168 ; 
"Doctor," 167; A Pious Slave; A Biblical Education, 170; Another 
Plantation ; A Southern Young Gentleman, 171 ; Runaways and Extradi- 



CONTENTS. XIU 



tion, 172; Another Bad Stable, 173 ; Family Discipline, 174; Musketo 
Tent ; Eye Service ; A Virgiiiuy Nigger's Views of tb.e South, 176 ; A 
Mississippi Slaveholding Abolitionist," 177 ; Talk about Texas, 178 ; Objec- 
tions to Slavery ; A Man who can speak his Thoughts at the South, and 
How it can be Managed, 179 ; Mechanics and Slavery, 180 ; Ksstraiut upon 
Negroes Necessary, 181 ; Management of Diifereat Owners, 182 ; Improve- 
ment in Condition of Slaves, 183 ; Prospects of Western Texas, 184 ; Educa- 
tion in Texas ; The Kansas Question; Effects of its Discussion, 185 ; Negro 
Piety ; A Kascaliy Nigger Preacher, 186 ; A Slave Keligious Service in New 
Orleans, 187 ; A SmalrTradesman's Home, 196 ; Tea ; "A Night with a Poor 
White, 197 ; A Farmer's Home, 198 ; Board and Lodging, 199 ; Leaks ; 
Irish and German Slaves, 200 ; Feeding Negroes, 201 ; Hard Work, 202 ; 
Get Eid of the Niggers ; Nigger Panics, 203 ;"Hospitable Symptoms, 204. 



CHAPTER Y. 

THE PIEDMONT COTTON DISTRICTS. 

Northern xllabama ; Cotton of less Consequence ; Scenery and Soil ; Whites 
at Work ; Habitations, 205 ; Love of chancce ; Cotton-growing Farmers, 
206 ; An Extra Mean White, 207 ; Warm Work for Womankind ; Mining, 
208 ; Education, 209 ; "Powerful Poor Folks ;" Character of the People, 
210 ; Articles of Female Luxury, " Tobacco and So on," 211 ; "Please to 
Eemember ;" A Sporting Farmer and Nigger Hunting, 212 ; Hill Folks on 
Sunday, 215 ; Wheat Culture ; Hunting Tales ; Negro Dogs, 216 ; Treeing 
a Eunaway ; A Minister's Story, 217 ; Working Cattle ; Poor Whites of the 
Mountains, 218 ; White Female Labor, 220. 



CHAPTER YI. 

THE H I a II L A N D E R S . 

The Highlanders ; Agricultural Notes in the Highlands, 221 ; Bears, Dogs, and 
other Beasts of Prey ; Sheep ; lmplements,"225 ; Slave Labor and Slave 
Breeding in the Highlands, 226 ; Wliite Hireling Labor ; Etfects of Shivery, 
228 ; Harvest Work ; A Conversation, 229 ; Wealth and Poverty ; Habita- 
tions, 230 ; Board ; Furniture ; Literature, 231 ; Character of People ; 
Mode of Traveling ; Extracts from Diary ; A Farmer, 232 ; A Tennessee 
Squire, 233 ; Eailroad Projects, 234 ; Nebraska ; Climate and Dress, 235 ; 
Irish and Nigger Slaves, 236 ; A Mountain Cabin and a Pious Cottager, 
237 ; Tennessee Copper Mining, 252 ; Cornish ISIen and their Life in Ten- 
nessee, 243 ; Tlie JBritish Lion and the American Eagle ; Beds, 244 ; A 
Smart Yankee, 245 ; Stocks and Branding ; A Eegular Nigger Dog, 246 : 
Tomaliila Mountain, 247 ; Scenery ; A Young Mail Carrier, 248 ; Provincial 
Simplicity, 249 ; Ashville ; Eailroad Projects, 251 ; Ascent of Balsam 
Mountain, 252 ; Abundant Vegetation, 254 ; Attractiveness of the Country ; 
Mountain Heights, 256 ; Turned Oif ; A Mountain Capitalist ; Honesty, 
258 ; Education ; The Slave Basis, 259 ; New York a Free State ? Living 
Pound ; Wiiitc Laborers, 260 ; A Colonizationist, 262 ; Uncle Tom's Cabin ; 
California Slaves, 264 ; Angry Denunciation of Slaverv by a Poor Wliite ; 
How They Talk, 265 ; Highways and Byways, 207 ; Bakersville ; The Fields 
of Tow; 'Slave and Free in the Household, 268; The Methodists of the 
Northern South, 270 ; Comfort of the Negroes, 271 ; Abolition in Tennessee ; 
The Christian Duty of the North, 272 ; Abincrton and its Vicinity ; Agri- 



XIV CONTENTS 



culture; An Eccentric Habit, 273; White and Black Laborers Togetlier; An 
Agricultui'al Chano-e ; A Superior Farm, 274 ; Household Servants ; Abo- 
litionism, 276 ; Jersey Yankees, 277 ; Texas Keports, 278 ; Sleep under Diffi- 
culties; Laggard Harvesters ; Richmond; Southern Towns, 279 ; Cravvlbrd ; 
The Spirit of Virginia, 280 ; A Word Fitly Spoken, 281. 



CHAPTER VII. 

PATRIARCHAL LIFE IN VIRGINIA, AND IN GENERAL. 

James Eiver ; Steamers, and other Projects ; Nigger Breeding aud Commerce, 
284 ; Patriarchism, 286 ; The Lesson of Slavery, 289. 



CHAPTEE VIII. 

SLAVERY EXTENSION ; SOUTHERN COMMERCE AND COTTON 
SUPPLY ; PRESENT CONDITION AND CHARACTER OF THE 
CITIZENS OF THE SOUTH ; THE CAUSES AND THE REMEDY. 

The Peculiarities of American Slavery, 291 ; Breadth of the Field, 292 ; The 
Mountain Region ; Peculiarities of the People, and Reasons for Them, 293; 
The Cotton Ee,!2:ion ; Tlie Profit of Cotton-Growing and of Slave Labor in 
Cotton Plantations, 294 ; A Comparison of Mississippi with Virginia, 295 ; 
Social Divisions of a Cotton-growing Community, 297 ; Poor Soil and the 
Poor ; Why Poor ? Climate Considered ; Material Condition, 298 ; Degra- 
dation of Labor Explained, 299 ; Competition in the Labor Market, 800 ; 
What is the Honor of Labor, 801 ; Incentives to Industry, 802 ; Depressive 
Eifects of Slavery, 803 ; A Southern Manufacturing Village, 304 ; Effect of 
Comfortable Homes ; A Necessity of Industry, 305 ; How' Slaverv Prevents 
Comfortable Homes, 306 ; Social Effects of the Cotton Demand", 307 ; Re- 
sults on the Poor Whites, 810 ; The South and the East Indies, 811 ; Statis- 
tics of Trade and of Morals, 312 ; A Tabular Statement, 314 ; Recapitulation, 
319 ; Inducements to Capital, 820 ; Why not Worse ? 321 ; Capital in Illi- 
nois aud Mississippi, 322 ; Where does the Money go ? 323 ; The Poverty 
of the Southern Rich People, 324; Evidence of Mr. Russell, Dr. Cloud, ancl 
Others, 327 ; Small Landholders and Cotton Growers in Mississippi, 328 ; 
Large Planters vs. Small Farmers, 329 ; The Difficulty of Popular Echication ; 
Recent Experience of Virginia, 330 ; The Question of Cotton Supply, 337 ; 
A Comparison of Cotton, Corn, and Tobacco Culture, 338 ; Tlie Advan- 
tages of Slavery for Tobacco Culture ; Its Disadvantage for Corn and Cotton ; 
Ohio and Virginia, 339 ; The Limit of Cotton Supply ; The Future Price of 
Cotton, 341 ; The Error of the Supposition that Whites can not Cultivate 
Cotton ; The Climate of the Cotton Region, 842 • Its Salubrity for Whites, 
and Insalubrity for Negroes, 343 ; Salubrity of the Mississippi Swamp 
Lands, 344 ; Combined Forces for Cottoa Culture ; The Limit of Cotton 
Supply made by the Limit of Pickers, 345 ; Advantages of the Free Labor 
Community for Harvesting ; Analogous Cases ; The Vintage, 346 ; Hop 
Piclving and Cotton Picking Compared ; German Cotton Pickers, 347 ; Dirt, 
S-tones, etc, in Cotton, and Why ? 348 ; Wliite Labor in the Cotton Field, 349 ; 
Relative numbers of White and Black Cotton Growers at Present; The Dis- 
advantages of the Present White Cotton Growers, 350 ; Why can not the 
Poor Whites Combine to obtain a Share of the Profits of Cottoa Growing ? 



CONTENTS. XV 



352 ; Examples of Cotton Growing by White Labor, 353 ; Errors witli regard 
to the Question of Cotton Supply; Tlie Eesources and the Possibilities of 
the South ; The Shortcomings of" the South, 354 ; Eeniedial Measures ; Mr. 
Gregg's Scheme : Factories, 355 ; Unfitness of Poor Whites for Manufactur- 
ing Operations, 356 ; Their Inefficiency shown by Southern Authorities ; T!ie 
Factory People at Augusta, 357 ; At Tobler's Creek, 358 ; Effect of Educa- 
tion in Missouri, 359 ; The Opening for Intelligent Labor offered at the South, 
360; The Demand for Labor; Tiie Question of Labor Supply as stated by De 
Bovr, 361 ; Southern Plans of Relief, 362 ; The Slave Trade Advocate'd in 
Desperation, 363 ; An Argument for Argument ; Conditions of Southern Free 
Discussion of tlie Slave Trade, 364 ; The Discussion must be had, 365 ; 
What its Logical Result must be at the South, 366 ; The Result of PrevioiTS 
Discussions had on the Same Terms ; The Aggressions of the North as De- 
fined by Webster, 367 ; The Real Discussion to be at the North ; The Result 
Depends upon How it is to be Argued, 368 ; The Practical Result to be Ap- 
prehended, 369 ; Dodges for the Slave Trade; Southern Protests Against it, 
370 ; The Dilemma of Slavery, 371 ; The Necessities of Southern Politicians ; 
Dissolution, or the Slave Trade, 372 ; On What Ground can a Union Party 
Exist in the South ; Probable Results of a Territorial Restriction of Slavery 
Condensation of the Cotton Labor Force, 373 ; Cheapening of Raw Mutei'ial ; 
Cheapening of the Means of Civilized Progress ; Land and Labor Prices 
Considered, 374 ; Present Necessity for a State of Frontier Society and for 
Half-formed Communities, 375 ; The Real Requirement of the South ; Ob- 
jections ; Insurrection ; Counteracting Inflnences, 376 ; Insufficiency of 
Present Guards against Insurrection : Instances, 377 ; Suggestions for an 
Improvement ; Southern Testimony that a Denser Popuhition would be 
Safer, 378 ; Reference to Historicar Precedents ; Further Southern Testi- 
mony Referred to, 379. 



CHAPTER IX. 

CHARACTER AND MANNERS. 



a for Justifying Slaveiy ; Improvement of Negroes in Slavery, 381 ; 
ral Stupidity of Negroes, and Reasons for it, 382 ; Improvidence, 383 ; 



Formula : 
Genen 

What is the^Result of Slavery to the Negro Race? 384'; Tlie Negro Consid- 
ered as a Non-IIumau Animal, 3S5 ; Methods of Vindicating Slavery ; Ad- 
vantages to the Free, 386 ; Ignorance and Vice of the North Considered as 
a Result of the Free System, 387 ; Discussion Necessary to Improvement, 
388 ; Mistaken Estimates of the Misery of Free Labor at the South, 389 ; 
Conceit of Southern Conservatives, 390 ; Nortliern Endorsements of South- 
ern Errors, 391 ; These Errors Dependent on False Standards, and a Wrong 
Use of Words, 392 ; A Comfortable Northern Home, 393 ; A Comfortable 
Southern Home, 394 ; General Destitution of Comfort at the South, 395 ; 
Ai-istocratic Luxuries, 396 ; Mr. De Bow on tlie Condition of Soutlierners, 
397 ; Mr. De Bow on the Character of the Northerners, 393 ; An Apology, 
399 ; An Investigation of Hospitality ; An Experience in Virginia, 400 ; 
The Explanation ; An Exception and a Rule, 404 ; Tiie Proverbial Meanness 
of Connecticut ; The Inhospitality of Connecticut, 405 ; Southern Views of 
Northern Nigirardliness ; Tlieir Error, 4o6; General Experience with regard 
to the Hospitable Habits of the South, 407 ; The Experience of Connnercial 
Travelers, 408 ; Of a Naturalist, and of a Nobleman, 409 ; The Sensible 
Custom of the South, and How it is Misrepresented, 410 ; Of Soutliern 
Breeding ; Breeding Defined, 411 : Frontier Breeding at the Soutli, 412 ; 
Frontier Rowdyism ; The South Generally in a Frontier Condition, 413 ; 
Intensity of Purpose a Southern Trait, 414 ; Self-confidence and Easy 



XVI CONTENTS. 



Carriao^e ; Novtli and South at the Eevolution ; The Lowest Class, 415 ; 
The Fourth Class at the North and South Compared, 416 ; The Third Class ; 
Means of Common Education, 417 ; Manners, 418 ; The Second Class ; 
Eefiued Education, 419 ; Governesses, 420 ; Sociability ; Deportment ; 
Smartness, 421 ; Snobs ; First Families ; The Old Gentry, 422 ; The New 
Gentry, 423 ; Fifth Avenue Display ; Southern Potiphars ; Merchants at 
the South, 424 ; An Adventure amonpr Merchants and Bankers, 425 ; 
Wooden Nutmegs ; Honesty, 427 ; Keligious Contributions ; The Honest 
Planter at Home and Abroad, 428. 



CHAPTER X. 



THE DANGER OF THE SOUTH. 



The Danger of the South ; Social Laws, 431 ; The Field Hand Negro ; His 
Condition ; What Could be Safely Done with Him ? 432 ; State Policy for 
Madmen, 433 ; The Laws of Mental and Moral Progress for Idiots, *437 ; 
The Negro Compared with an Ass, 434 ; Southern Theories Applied to 
European peasants ; Congo Niggers, 439 ; The Danger of the Southern 
Method of Treatment, 440^ ; TheUnconscious Habit of Precaution which 
Eesults from the Presence of this Danger, 441 ; Brooks and Sumner, 442 ; 
Appearance of Content and Tranquillity Deceptive, 443 ; Signs ; Police 
and Passports at the South, 444 ; A Negro Burning in Eastern Tennessee, 
and tlis Moral, 445 ; The Cause of Agitation, 449 ; What is Most Dreaded, 
450 ; What is Kequired by the Present System of the South, 452 ; Aboli- 
tion Publishers, 453 ; The'South Fighting Civilization, 455 ; The Sure End 
of it, 456 ; The Alternative, 457 ; Disunion and War, 458 ; The Military 
Condition of the South, 460 ; Warlike and Peaceable People ; The Hol- 
landers, 461 ; Connecticut in the Eevolution, 462 ; The Last English War • 
The Mexican War, 463 ; The Aristocratic Theory Disputed, 464 ; Our Eeal 
Dukes ; Our Cheap Government, 465 ; Bunkum Orators, 466 ; The Aris- 
tocratic Theory applied to War ; A Measurement of Military Talent, 467 ; 
Tlie West Point Sifting, 408 ; Fertility of Eesourc.e ; Duelists and Engine 
Drivers ; Militia, 470 "; The Sinews o'f War, 471 ; Baggage and Transport, 
472 ; Helots, 473 ; Negro Courage ; Feliciana Chivalry, 474 ; Eesults of 
Neglect, 475 ; Movables and Extra Hazardous Goods, 476 ; British Protec- 
tions to Negroes in 1776 and in 1814, 477 ; President Madison on the De- 
fences of Slave States, 478 ; Marion on the Same Subject, 478 ; Chancellor 
Harper on the Chances of War; On What the Threat of Secession is Based, 
479 ; The Conservatism of the Free Soil Party, 480 ; What the End may 
be, 481. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE YALLEY OF THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI. 
A COTTON MAN. 

A DEEP iiotcli of sadness marks in my memory the morning 
of tlie May day on which I rode out of the chattering little 
town of Bayou Sara, and I recollect little of its suburbs but the 
sympathetic cloud-shadows slowly going before me over the hill 
of Sti Francis. At the top is an old French hamlet, and a very 
American tavern. 

One from among the gloomy, staring loungers at the door, as 
I pass^ throws himself upon a horse, and overtaking mcj checks 
his pace to, keep by my side. I turn toward him, and full of 
aversion for the companionship of a stranger, nod, in such a 
manner as to say^ " Your equality is acknowledged ; go on " 
Not a nod ; not the slightest deflection of a single line in the 
austere countenance ; not a ripple of radiance in the sullen eyes, 
which wander slowly over, and, at distinct intervals, examine 
my horse, ray saddle-bags, my spurs, lariat, gloves, finally my 
face, with such stern deliberation that at last I should not be 
sorry if he would speak. But he does not; does not make the 
smallest response to a further turning of my head, which ac- 
knowledges the reflex interest excited in my own mind ; his eyes 
remain fixed upon me, as if they were dead. I can no longer 
endure it in silence, so I ask, in a voice attuned to his apparent 
humor. 



12 A JOUKNEY IN THE BACK COUNTKY. 

" How far to Woodville ?" 

The only reply is a slight gi'unt, with an elevation of the ohm, 

" You do n't know ?" 

" No." 

" Never been there ?" 

" No." 

" I can ride there before night, I suppose ?" 

No reply. 

" Good walker, your horse ?" 

Not a nod. 

" I thought mine pretty good." 

Not a sneer, or a gleam of vanity, and Belshazzar and I 
'warmed up together. Scott's man of leather occm'red to my 
mind, and I felt sure that I could guess my man's chord. I 
touched it, and in a moment he became animated, civil ; hospit- 
able even. I was immediately informed that this was a famous 
cotton region ; " when it was first settled up by 'Mericans, used to 
be reckoned the gardying of the world, the almightiest rich sile 
God Almighty ever shuck down ; gettin' thinned down powerful 
fast now, though ; nothin' to what it was. All on't owned by 
big-bugs." Finally he confided to me that he was an overseer for 
one of them, " one of the biggest sort." This greatest of the 
local hemipteras was not now on his plantation, but had " gone 
North to Paris or Saratogy, or some of them places." 

Wearing no waistcoat, the overseer carried a pistol, without a 
thought of concealment, in the fob of his trowsers. The dis- 
tance to Woodville, which, after he had exhausted his subject of 
cotton, I again tried to ascertain, he did not know, and would 
not attempt to guess. The ignorance of the more brutalized 
slaves is often described by saying of them that they can not 



THE VALLEY OF THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI. 13 

count above twenty. I find many of tlie whites but little more 
intelligent. At all events, it is rarely that you meet, in the plan- 
tation districts, a man, whether Avhite or black, who can give 
you any clear information about the roads, or the distances be- 
tw^een places in his owni vicinity. While in or near Bayou Sara 
and St. Francisville, I asked, at different times, ten men, black and 
white, the distance to Woodville (the next town to the northward 
on the map). N^one answered with any appearance of certaint}", 
and those who ventured to give an opinion, differed in their es- 
timates as much as ten miles. I found the actual distance to be, 
I think, about twenty-four miles. After riding by my side for a 
mile or two, the overseer suddenly parted from me at a fork in 
the road, with hardly more ceremony than he had used in join- 
ing me. 

THE LANDSCAPE. PtOSE HEDGES. 

For some m41es about St. Francisville the landscape has an 
open, suburban character, with residences indicative of rapidly 
accumulating wealth, and advancement in luxury among the pro- 
prietors. For twenty miles to the north of the town, there is on 
both sides a succession of large sugar and cotton plantations. 
Much land still remains uncultivated, however. The roadside 
fences are generally hedges of roses — Cherokee and sweet brier. 
These are planted first by the side of a common rail fence, which, 
while they are young, supports them in the manner of a trellis ; 
as they grow older they fall each way, and mat together, finally 
forming a confused, sprawling, slovenly thicket, often ten feet in 
breadth and four to six feet high. Trumpet creepers, grape- 
vines, green-briers, and in very rich soil, cane, grow up through 
the mat of roses, and add to. its strength. It is not as pretty as 



14 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTPlY. 

a trimmer hedge, yet very agreeable, and the road being some- 
times narrow, deep and lane like, delightful memories of England 
were often bronght to mind. 

There were frequent groves of magnolia grandiflora, large 
trees, and every one in the glory of full blossom. The magnoh'a 
does not, however, show well in masses, and those groves, not 
unfrequently met, were much finer, where the beech, elm, and 
liquid amber formed the body, and the magnolias stood singly 
out, magnificent chandeliers of fragrance. The large-leafed mag- 
nolia, extremely beautiful at this season of the year, was more 
rarely seen. 

THE PLANTATIONS. 

The soil seems generally rich, though much washed off' the 
higher ground. The cultivation is directed with some care to 
prevent this. Young pine trees, however, and other indications 
of impoverishing agriculture, are seen on many plantations. 

The soil is a sandy loam, so friable that the negroes, always 
working in large gangs, superintended by a driver with a whip, 
continued their hoeing in the midst of quite smart showers, 
and when the road had become a poaching mud. 

Only once did I see a gang which had been allowed to dis- 
continue its work on account of the rain. This was after a 
very heavy thunder-showerj and the appearance of the negroes 
whom I met crossing the road in returning to the field, from 
the gin-house to which they had retreated, was remarkable. 

First came, led by an old driver carrying a whip, forty of 
the largest and strongest women I ever saw together; they 
were all in a simple uniform dress of a bluish check stuff*, the 
skirts reaching little below the knee ; their legs and feet were 



THE VALLEY OF THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI. 15 

bare ; they carried tliemselves loftily, eacli having a hoe over 
the shoulder, and walking with a free, powerful swing, like 
chasseurs on the march. Behind them came the cavalry, 
thirty strong, mostly men, but a few of them women, two 
of whom rode astride on the plow mules. A lean and vigilant 
white overseer, on a brisk pony, brought up the rear. The 
men wore small blue Scotch bonnets ; many of the women, 
handkerchiefs, turban fashion, and a few nothing at all on 
their heads. 

The slaves generally of this district appear uncommonly 
well — doubtless, chiefly, because the wealth of their owners 
has enabled them to select the best from the yearly exporta- 
tions of Virginia and Kentucky, but also because they are 
systematically w-ell fed. 

The plantation residences were of a cottage class, sometimes 
with extensive and tasteful grounds about them. 

An old gentleman, sensible, polite, and communicative, and 
a favorable sample of the wealthy planters, who rode a short 
distance with me, said that many of the proprietors were ab- 
sentees — some of the plantations had dwellings only for the 
negroes and the overseer. He called my attention to a field 
of cotton wdiich, he said, had been ruined by his overseer's 
laziness. The negroes had been permitted at a critical time 
to be too careless in their hoeing, and it was now impossible 
to recover the ground thus lost. Grass grew so rampantly in 
this black soil, that if it once got a good start ahead, you 
could never overtake it. That was the devil of a rainy sea- 
son. Cotton could stand drouth better than it could grass.* 

* "Fine Prospect for Hay. — While riding by a field the other day, 
which looked as rich and green as a New England meadow, we observed to 



16 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COLTNTRY. 

The inclosures are not often of less area, than a hundred 
acres. Fewer than fifty negroes are seldom found on a planta- 
tion ; many muster by the hundred. In general the fields 
are remarkably free from weeds and well tilled. 

I arrived shortly after dusk at Woodville, a well-built and 
pleasant court-town, with a small but pretentious hotel. Court 
was in session, I fancy, for the house was filled with guests of 
somewhat remarkable character. The landlord was inattentive, 
and, wdien followed up, inclined to be uncivil. At the ordinary 
— supper and breakflist alike — there were twelve men beside 
myself, all of them wearing black cloth coats, black cravats, and 
satin or embroidered silk waistcoats ; all, too, sleek as if just 
from a barber's hands, and redolent of perfumes, which really 
had the best of it with the exhalations of the kitchen. Per- 

a man sitting on the fence, * You have a fine prospect for hay, neighbor.' 
*Hay! that's cotton^ sir,^ said he, with an emotion that betraj'-ed an excite- 
ment which we cared to provolce no further; for we had as soon sport with 
a rattlesnake in the blind daj's of August as a farmer at this season of the 
year, badly in the grass. * * * 

" All jesting aside, we have never known so poor a prospect for cotton in 
this region. In some instances the fields are clean and well worked, but the 
cotton is diminutive in size and sickly in appearance. We have seen some 
fields so foul that it was almost impossible to tell what had been planted. 

*' All this backwardness is attributable to the cold, wet weather that we 
have had almost constantly since the planting season commenced. When 
there was a warm spell, it was raining so that plows could not run to any 
advantage ; so, between the cold and the rain, the cotton crop is very un- 
promising. * * * 

"The low, flat lands this year have suffered particularly. Thoroughly 
saturated all the time, and often overflowed, the crops on them are small 
and sickly, while the weeds and grass are luxurious and rank. 

" A week or two of dry hot weather will make a wonderful change in our 
agricultural prospects, but we have no idea that any sort of seasons could 
bring the cotton to more than an average crop." — Hernando {Miss.) Advance, 
June 22, 1854. 



THE VALLEY OF THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI. 17 

haps it was because I was not in the regulation dress that I 
found no one ready to converse with me, and could obtain 
not the slightest information about my road, even from the 
landlord. 

I might have left Woodville with more respect for this de- 
corum if I had not, when shown by a servant to my room, 
found two beds in it, each of which proved to be furnished 
with soiled sheets and greasy pillows, nor was it without re- 
iterated demands and bribery of the servant, that I succeeded 
in getting them changed on the one I selected. A gentleman 
of embroidered waistcoat took the other bed as it was, with 
no apparent reluctance, soon after I had effected my arrange- 
ments. One wash-bowl, and a towel which had already been 
used, was expected to answer for both of us, and v/ould have 
done so but that I carried a private towel in my saddle-bags. 
Another requirement of a civilized household was wanting, and 
its only substitute unavailable with decency. 

The bill was excessive, and the hostler, who had left the 
mud of yesterday hanging all along the inside of Belshazzar's 
legs, and who had put the saddle on so awkwardly that I 
resaddled him myself after he had brought him to the door, 
grumbled, in presence of the landlord, at the smallness of the 
gratuity which I saw fit to give him. 

The country, for some distance north of Woodville, is the 
most uneven, for a non-mountainous region, I ever saw. The 
road seems well engineered, yet you are nearly all the time 
mounting or descending the sides of protuberances or basins, 
ribs or dikes. In one place it follows along the top of a 
crooked ridge, as steep-sided and regular for nearly a quarter 



18 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

of a mile, as a liigli railroad embankment. A man might 
jump oft" anywhere and land thirty feet below. The ground 
being too rough here for cultivation, the dense native forest 
remains intact. 

" IMPORTANT TO BUSINESS MEN." 

This ridge, a man told me, had been a famous place for 
robberies. It is not far from the Mississippi bottoms. 

" Thar could n't be," said he, " a better location for a feller 
that wanted to foller that business. There was one chap there 
a spell ago, who built himself a cabin t' other side the river. 
He used to come over in a dug-out. He could paddle his 
dug-out up the swamp, you see, to within two mile of the 
ridge ; then, when he stopped a man, he 'd run through the 
woods to his dug-out, and before the man could get help, he 'd 
be t' other side the Mississippi, a sittin' in his housen as honest 
as you be." 

The same man had another story of the ridge : 

" Mr. Allen up here caught a runaway once, and started to 
take him down to Woodville- to the jail. He put him in irons 
and carried him along in his waggin. The nigger was peace- 
able and submissive till they got along onto that yer ridge 
place. When they got thar, all of a sudden he gin a whop 
like, and over he went twenty foot plum down the side of the 
ridge. 'Fore Allen could stop his boss he 'd tumbled and rolled 
himself 'way out of sight. He started right away arter him, 
but he never cotched a sight on him again." 

HILL-SIDE COTTON CULTURE. 

Not far north of the ridge, plantations are found again, though 



THE VALLEY OF THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI. 19 

the character of the surface changes but little. The hill-sides 
are so plowed that each furrow forms a narrow terrace. After 
the first plowing, thus scientifically directed, the lines are fol- 
lowed in subsequent cultivation, year in and year out, so long 
as enough soil remains to grow cotton with profit. On the 
hills recently brought into cultivation, broad, serpentine ditches, 
having a fall of from two to four inches in a rod, have been 
frequently constructed : these are intended to prevent the form- 
ation of more direct gullies, during heavy rains. Of course, 
these precautions are not perfectly successful, the cultivated 
hills in spite of them losing soil every year in a melancholy 
manner. 

ABANDONED PLANTATIONS. 

I passed during the day four or five large plantations, the 
hill-sides gullied like icebergs, stables and negro quarters all 
abandoned, and given up to decay. 

The virgin soil is in its natural state as rich as possible. At 
first it is expected to bear a bale and a half of cotton to the 
acre, making eight or ten bales for each able field-hand. But 
from the cause described its productiveness rapidly decreases. 

Originally, much of this country w^as covered by a natural 
growth of cane, and by various nutritious grasses. A good 
northern farmer would deem it a crying shame and sin to at- 
tempt to grow any crops upon such steep slopes, except grasses 
or shrubs which do not require tillage. The waste of soil 
which attends the practice is much greater than it would be 
at the North, and, notwithstanding the unappeasable demand 
of the world for cotton, its bad economy, considering the sub- 
ject nationally, can not be doubted. 



20 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

If these slopes were tlirown into permanent terraces, with turfed 
or stone-faced escarpments, the fertility of the soil might be pre- 
served, even with constant tillage. In this way the hills would 
continue for ages to produce annual crops of greater value than 
those which are at present obtained from them at such destruct- 
ive expense — from ten to twenty crops of cotton rendering them 
absolute deserts. But with negroes at $1000 a head and fresh 
land in Texas at $1 an acre, nothing of this sort can be thought 
of. The time will probably come when the soil now w^ashing 
into the adjoining swamps will be brought back by our descend- 
ants, perhaps on their heads, in pots and baskets, in the manner 
Hue describes in China, which may be seen also in the Ehenish 
vineyards, to be relaid on the sunny slopes, to grow the luxurious 
cotton in. 

The plantations are all large, but, except in their size and 
rather unusually good tillage, display few signs of wealthy pro- 
prietorship. The greater number have but small and mean resi- 
dences upon them. No poor white people live upon the road, 
nor in all this country of rich soils are they seen, except en voy- 
age. In a distance of seventy -five miles I saw no houses with- 
out negro-cabins attached, and I calculated that there were fifty 
slaves, on an average, to every white family resident in the coun- 
try under my view. There is a small sandy region about Wood- 
ville, which I passed through after nightfall, and which of course 
my note does not include. 

I called in the afternoon, at a house, almost the only one I 
had seen during the day which did not appear to be the resi- 
dence of a planter or overseer, to obtain lodging. No one was 
at home but a negro woman and children. The woman said that 
her master never took in strangers ; there was a man a few miles 



THE VALLEY OF THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI. 21 

further on who did ; it was the only place she knew of where I 
was likely to be entertained. 

I found the place : probably the proprietor was the poorest 
white man whose house I had passed during the day, but he had 
several slaves ; one of them, at least, a first-class man, worth 
$2,000. 

Just before me, another traveler, a Mr. S,, from beyond 
Natchez, had arrived. Learning that I was from Texas, he im- 
mediately addressed me with volubility : 

" Ah ! then you can tell us something about it, and I would be 
obliged to you if you would. Have you been out west about 
Antonio ? Ranchering's a good business, eh, out west there, 
is n't it ? Can a man make thirty per cent, by it, eh ? I hear 
so ; should think that would be a good business. But how much 
capital ought a man to have to go into ranchering, good, eh? so 
as to make it a good business ?" 

He was a middle-aged, well-dressed man, devouring tobacco 
prodigiously; nervous and wavering in his manner; asking ques- 
tions, a dozen at a breath, and payiiig no heed to the answers. 
He owned a plantation in the bottoms, and another on the up- 
land ; the latter was getting worn out, it was too unhealthy for 
him to live in the bottoms, and so, as he said, he had had " a 
good notion to go into ranchering, just for ease and pleasure." 

" Fact is, though, I've got a family, and this is no country for 
children to be raised in. All the children get such foolish no- 
tions. I don't want my children to be brought up here — ruins 
everybody ; does sir, sure — spoils 'em ; too bad ; 'tis so, too bad ; 
can't make any thing of children here, sir — can't sir ; fact." 

He had been nearly persuaded to purchase a large tract of 
land at a point upon a certain creek where, he had been told, was 



22 A JOUKNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

a large court-house, an excellent school, etc. The waters of the 
creek he named are brackish, the neighboring country is a desert 
and the only inhabitants, savages. Some knavish speculator had 
nearly got a customer, but could not quite prevail on him to pur- 
chase until he examined the country personally. He gave mo 
no time to tell him how false was the account he had had, but 
went on, after describing its beauties and advantages : 

" But negro property is n't very secure there, I'm told. How 
is't ? Know ?" 

" Not at all secure, sir ; if it is disposed to go, it will go — the 
only way you could keep it would be to make it always content- 
ed to remain. The road would always be open to Mexico ; it 
would go when it liked." 

" So I hear. Only way is, to have young ones there and keep 
their mothers here, eh ? negroes have such attachments, you 
know ; do n't you think that would fix 'em, eh ? No ? No, I 
suppose not ; if they got mad at any thing, they'd forget their 
mothers, eh ? Yes, I suppose they would ; can't depend on nig- 
gers ; but I reckon they'd come back ; only be worse off in Mex- 
ico—eh ?" 

" Nothing but— " 

" Being free, eh ? get tired of that, I should think — nobody to 
take care of them. No, I suppose not ; learn to take care of 
themselves." 

Then he turned to our host and began to ask him about the 
neighbors, many of whom he had known when he was a boy, and 
been at school with. A sorry account he got of nearly all. 
Generally they had run through their property ; their lands had 
passed into new hands; their negroes had been disposed of; two 
were now, he thought, " strikers" for gamblers in Natchez. 



THE VALLEY OF THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI. 23 

" What is a striker ?" I asked the landlord at the first opportu- 
nity. 

" Oh ! to rope in fat fellows for the gamblers ; they do n't do 
that themselves, but get somebody else. I do n't know as it is 
so ; all I know is, they do n't have no business, not till late at 
night ; they never stir out till late at night, and nobody knows 
how they live, and that's what I expect they do. Fellows that 
come into town flush, you know — sold out their cotton and are 
flush — they always think they must see every thing, and try 
their hands at every thing — these fellows bring 'em in to the 
gamblers, and get 'em tight for 'em you know." 

" How's got along since his father died ?" asked 

Mr. S. 

" Well, 's been unfortunate. Got mad with his overseer ; 

thought he was lazy and packed him off; then he undertook to 
oversee for himself, and he was unfortunate. Had two bad crops. 
Finally the sheriff took about half his niggers. He tried to work 
the plantation with the rest, but they was old, used-up hands, 
and he got mad that they would not work more, and tired o' 
seein' 'em, and 'f6re the end of the year he sold 'era all." 

A MISSISSIPPI FAST MAX. 

Another young man, of whom he spoke, had had his property 
managed for him by a relative till he came of age, and had been 
sent North to college. Two years previously he returned and 
got it into his own hands, and the first year he ran it in debt 
816,000. He had now put it back into the hands of his relativje 
to manage, but continued to live upon it. " I see," continued 
our host, " every time any of their teams are coming back from 
town they fetch a barrel or a demijohn. There is a parcel of 



24 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

fellows, who, when they can't liquor anywhere else, always go 
to him." 

" But how did he manage to spend so much the first year, — in 
o-amblino* ?" 

" Well, he gambled some and he run horses. He do n't know 
any thing about a horse, and of course he thinks he knows 
every thing. Those fellows up at Natchez w^ould sell him any 
kind of a tacky for four or five hundred dollars, and then after 
lie'd had him a month, they'd ride out another and make a bet 
of five or six hundred dollars they'd beat him. Then he'd run 
with 'em, and of course he'd lose it.'* 

" But sixteen thousand dollars is a large sum of money to be 
worked off even in that way in a year," I observed. 

" Oh, he had plenty of other ways. He'd go into a bar-room, 
and get tight and commence to break things. They'd let him 
go on, and the next morning hand him a bill for a hundred dol- 
lars. He thinks that's a smart thing, and just laughs and pays 
it, and then treats all around again." 

By one and the other, many stories were then told of similar 
follies of young men. Among the rest, this : 

A certain man had, as was said to be the custom when running 
for office, given an order at a grocery for all to be " treated" who 
applied in his name. The grocer, after the election, which re- 
sulted in the defeat of the treater, presented what was thought 
an exorbitant bill. He refused to pay it, and a lawsuit ensued. 
A gentleman in the witness box being asked if he thought 
i4 possible for the whole number of people taking part in the 
election to have consumed the quantity of liquor alleged, an- 
swered : 

" Moy Goad ! Judge" (reproachfully). " Yes, sir ! Why, I've 



THE VALLEY OF THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI. 25 

been charged for a hundred and fifty drinks yb?*e breakfast^ when 
I've stood treat, and I never thought o' disputin' it." 

EDUCATION. 

At supper, Mr. S., looking at the daughter of our liost, said : 

" What a pretty girl that is. My dear, do you find any 
schools to go to out here — eh ? I reckon not. This is n't the 
country for schools. There'll not be a school in Mississippi 'fore 
long, I reckon ; nothing but Institutes, eh ? Ha ! ha ! ha ! In- 
stitutes, humph ! Do n't believe there's a school between this 
and Natchez, is there ?" 

" No, sir." 

" Of course there is n't."* 

" What sort of a country is it, then, between here and Nat- 
chez V I asked. " I should suppose it would be well settled." 

" SWELL-HEADS." 

" I^^S' Plantations, sir, nothing else — aristocrats ; swell-heads I 
call them, sir — nothing but swell-heads, and you can't get a 
night's lodging, sir. Beyond the ferry, I'll be bound, a man 

* " Sectional excitement" has given a great impetus to educational pro- 
jects in the South, and the Mississippi newspapers about this time contained 
numerous advertisements of a similar character to the following : 

Calhoun- Institute — For Young Ladies; Macon, Noxubee County, 
Mississippi. — W. E,. Poindexter, A. M., Principal and Proprietor. — The 
above School, formerly known as the " Macon Female Institute," will be re- 
opened on the first of October, 1855, with an entirely new corps of teachers 
from Principal down. Having purchased the property at public sale, and 
thus become sole jjroprietor, the Principal has determined to use all means he 
can now command, as well as he may realize for several years yet to come, 
in building, refitting and procuring such appurtenances as shall enable him 
to contribute his full quota, as a professional man, to the progress of the 
great cause of "Southern P]ducatiox." 



26 A JOUENEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

miglit die on the road 'fore he'd get a lodging with one of them, 
eh, Mr. N. ? so, is n't it ? ' Take a stranger in, and I'll clear you 
out r That's the rule. That's what they tell their overseers, 
eh ? Yes sir ; just so inhospitable as that — swell-heads ! swell- 
heads, sir, every plantation — can't get a meal of victuals or a 
night's lodging from one of them, I do n't suppose, not if your 
life depended on it. Can you, Mr. N. ?" 

" Well, I believe Mr. , his place is right on the road, 

and it 's half way to the ferry, and I believe he tells his overseer 
if a man comes and wants something to eat, he must give it to 
him, but he must not take any pay for it, because strangers 
must have something to eat. They start out of Natchez, think- 
ing it's as 'tis in other countries; that there's houses along, 
where they can get a meal, and so they don't provide for 
themselves, and when they get along about there, they are 
sometimes desperate hungry. Had to be something done." 

" Do the planters not live themselves on their plantations ?" 

" Why, a good many of them has two or three plantations, 
but they do n't often live on any of them." 

" Must have ice for their wine, you see," said Mr. S., " or 
they'd die; and so they have to live in Natchez or New Or- 
leans ; a good many of them live in New Orleans." 

" And in summer they go up into Kentucky, do they not ? 
I 've seen country houses there which were said to belong to 
cotton-planters from Mississippi." 

" No, sir ; they go North, to New York, and Newport, and 
Saratoga, and Cape May, and Seneca Lake — somewhere that 
they can display themselves worse than they do here ; Ken- 
tucky is no place for that. That's the sort of people, sir, all 
the way from liere to Natchez, and all round Natchez, too, 



THE VALLEY OF THE LOWEE MISSISSIPPI. 27 

and in all this section of country where there 's good land. 
Good God ! I wonld n't have my children educated, sir, among 

them, not to have them as rich as Dr. , every one of them. 

You can know their children as far off as you can see them — 
young swell-heads ! You '11 take note of 'era in Natchez. Why, 
you can tell them by their walk ; I noticed it yesterday at the 
Mansion House. They sort o' throw out their legs as if they 
had n't got strength enough to lift 'em and put them down in 
any particular place. They do want so bad to look as if they 
were n't made of the same clay as the rest of God's creation." 

Some allowance is of course to be made for the splenetic tem- 
perament of this gentleman, but facts evidently afford a justifi- 
cation of his sarcasms. And this is easily accounted for. The 
farce of the vulgar-rich has its foundation in Mississippi, as in 
New York and in Manchester, in the rapidity w^itli wdiich cer- 
tain values have advanced, especially that of cotton, and, simul- 
taneously, that of cotton lands and negroes.* Of course, there 
are men of refinement and cultivation among the rich planters 
of Mississippi, and many highly estimable and intelligent per- 
sons outside of the wealthy class, but the number of such is 
smaller in proportion to that of the immoral, vulgar, and ig- 
norant newly-rich, than in any other part of the United States. 
And herein is a radical diff"erencc between the social condition 

* As "a Southern lawyer," writing for Harper's WecJchj (February, 1859) 
observes : " The sudden acquisition of wealth in the cotton-growino; region 
of the United States, in many instances by planters commencing with vciy 
limited means, is almost miraculous. Patient, industrious, frugal, and self- 
denying, nearly the entire amount of their cotton-crops is devoted to the in- 
crease of their capital. The result is, in a few years largo estates, as if by 
magic, are accumulated. The fortunate proprietors then build fine houses, 
and surround themselves with comforts and luxuries to which they wcro 
strangers in their earlier years of care and toil." 

2^- 



28 A JOUENEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

of tliis region and that of the sea-board slave States, where 
there are fewer wealthy families, but where, among the people 
of wealth, refinement and education are much more general. 

I asked how rich the sort of men were of whom he spoke. 

" Why, sir, from a hundred thousand to ten million." 

" Do you mean that between here and Natchez there are none 
worth less than a hundred thousand dollars ?" 

"No, sir, not beyond the ferry. Why, any sort of a planta- 
tion is worth a hundred thousand dollars ; the niggers would 
sell for that." 

" How many negroes are there on these plantations ?" 

" From fifty to a hundred." 

" Never over one hundred ?" 

" No ; when they 've increased to a hundred they always 
divide them ; stock another plantation. There are sometimes 
three or four plantations adjoining one another, with an over- 
seer for each, belonging to the same man ; but that is n't gen- 
eral — in general, they have to strike off for new land." 

" How many acres will a hand tend here ?" 

"About fifteen — ten of cotton, and five of corn ; some pretend 
to make them tend twenty." 

" And what is the usual crop ?" 

" A bale and a half to the acre on fresh land and in the bot- 
tom. From four to eight bales to a hand they generally get ; 
sometimes ten and better, when they are lucky." 

" A bale and a half on fresh land ? How much on old ?" 

" Well, you can't tell — depends on how much it 's worn and 
what the season is, so much. Old land, after a while, isn't 
worth bothering with." 

" Do most of these large planters who live so freely, antici- 



THE VALLEY OP THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI. 29 

pate their crops as the sugar planters are said to — spend the 
money, I mean, before the crop is sold ?" 

" Yes, sir, and three and four crops ahead generally." 

" Are most of them the sons of rich men ? are they old 
estates ?" 

" No, sir ; many of them were overseers themselves once." 

" Well, have you noticed whether it is a fact that these large 
properties seldom continue long in the same family ? Do the 
grandsons of wealthy planters often become poor men ?" 

" Generally the sons do ; almost always their sons are fools, 
and soon go through with it." 

" If they do n't kill themselves before their fathers die," said 
the other. 

" Yes ; they drink hard and gamble, and of course that brings 
them into fights." 

This was while they were smoking on the gallery after supper. 
I walked to the stable to see how my horse was provided for ; 
when I returned they were talking of negroes who had died of 
yellow fever while confined in the jail at Natchez. Two of them 
were spoken of as having been thus " happily released," being 
under sentence of death, and unjustly so, in their opinion. 

THE LOWER LAW. 

A man living in this vicinity having taken a runaway while 
the fever was raging in the jail, a physician advised him not to 
send him there. He did not, and the negro escaped ; was some- 
time afterward recaptured, and the owner learned from him that 
he had been once taken and not detained according to law. 
Being a patriotic man, he made a journey to inquire into the 
matter, and was very angry. He said, " Whenever you catch a 



so A JOURNEY I]!T THE BACK COUNTRY. 

nigger again, you send him to jail, no matter what's to be 
feared. If he dies in the jail, you are not responsible. You 've 
done your duty, and you can leave the rest to Providence." 

" That was right, too," said Mr. P. " Yes, he ought to a' 
minded the law ; then if he 'd died in jail, he 'd know 'twas n't 
his fault." 

Next morning, near the ferry house, I noticed a set of stocks, 
having holes for the head as well as the ankles ; they stood un- 
sheltered and unshaded in the open road. 

I asked an old negro what it was. 

" Dat ting, massa ?" grinning ; " well, sah, we calls dat a ting 
to put black people, niggers in, when dey misbehaves bad, and 
to put runaways in, sah. Heaps o' runaways, dis country, sah. 
Yes, sah, heaps on 'em round here." 

Mr. S. and I slept in the same room. I went to bed some 
time before liim ; he sat up late, to smoke, he said. He woke 
me when he came in, by his efforts to barricade the door with 
our rather limited furniture. The room being small, and with- 
out a window, I expostulated. He acknowledged it would prob- 
ably make us rather too warm, but he should n't feel safe if the 
door were left open. "You don't know," said he; "there may 
be runaways around." 

He then drew two small revolvers, hitherto concealed under 
his clothing, and began to examine the caps. He was certainly 
a nervous man, perhaps a madman. I suppose he saw some ex- 
pression of this in my face, for he said, placing them so they 
could be easily taken up as he lay in bed, "Sometimes a man has 
a use for them when he least expects it. There was a gentleman 
on this road a few days ago ; he was going to Natchez. Ho 
overtook a runaway, and he says to him, 'bad company's bet- 



THE VALLEY OP THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI. 31 

ter'n none, boy, and I reckon I'll keep you along with me into 
Natchez.' The nigger appeared to be pleased to have company, 
and went along, talking with him, very well, till they came to a 
thicket place about six miles from Natchez, and then he told 
him he reckoned he would not go any further with him. 
* What ! you black rascal,' says he ; ' you mean you won't go in 
with me ; you step out and go straight ahead, and if you turn 
your face till you get into Natchez, I'll shoot you.' ' Aha ! 
massa,' says the nigger, mighty good-natured, * I reckon you 
haint got no shootin' irons,' and he bolted off into the thicket, 
and got away from him." 

The carpentry of the house, as usual, was so bad that we did 
not suffer at all perceptibly, for ventilation. 

At breakfast, Mr. S. came rather late. He bowed his head as 
he took his seat, and closed his eyes for a second or two ; then, 
withdrawing his quid of tobacco and throwing it in the fire- 
place, he looked round with a smile, and said : 

"I always think it a good plan to thank the Lord for His 
mercies. I'm afraid some people '11 think I'm a member of the 
church. I aint, and never was. Vv'ish I was. I am a Son, 
though [of Temperance ?] Give me some water, girl ; coffee 
first — never too soon for coffee. And never too late, I say. 
Wait for any thing but coffee. These sw^ell-heads drink their 
coffee after they 've eaten all their dinner. I want it with din- 
ner, eh ? Don't nothing taste good without coffee, I reckon." 

Before he left, he invited me to visit his plantations, giving 
me careful directions to find them, and saying that if he should 
not have returned before I reached them, his wife and his over- 
seer would give me every attention if I would tell them lie told 
me to visit them. He said ac^ain, and in this connection, that he 



32 A JOURNEY IN" THE BACK COUNTRY. 

believed this was the most inhospitable country in the world, 
and asked, " as I had been a good deal of a traveler, did n't 
I think so myself?" I answered that my experience was much 
too small to permit me to form an opinion so contrary to that 
generally held. 

If they had a reputation for hospitality, he said, it could only 
be among their own sort. They made great swell-head parties; 
and when they were on their plantation places, they made it a 
point to have a great deal of company ; they would not have 
any thing to do if they did n't. But they were all swell-heads, 
I might be sure ; they 'd never ask anybody but a regular swell- 
head to see them. 

His own family, however, seemed not to be excluded from the 
swell-head society. 

Among numerous anecdotes illustrative of the folly of his 
neighbors, or his own prejudices and jealousy, I remember none 
which it would be proper to publish but the following : 

REFUSING A NOBLE TITLE. 

"Do you remember a place you passed [describing the lo- 
cality] ?" 

" Yes," said I ; " a nice house, with a large garden, and a lawn 
with some statues or vases in it." 

" I think it likely ; got a foreign gardener, I expect ; that 's 
all the fashion with them ; a nigger is n't good enough for them. 
AVell, that belongs to Mr. A. J. Clayborn. [?] He's got to be a very 
rich man ; I suppose he 's got as many as five hundred people on 
all his places. He went out to Europe a few years ago, and some- 
time after he came back, he came up to Natchez. I was there 
with my wife at the same time, and as she and Mrs. Clayborn came 



THE VALLEY OF THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI. 33 

from the same section of country, and used to know each other 
when they were girls, she thought she must go and see her. 
Mrs. Clayborn could not talk about any thing but the great peo- 
ple they had seen in Europe. She was telling of some great 
nobleman's castle they went to, and the splendid park there was 
to it, and how grandly they lived. For her part, she admired it 
so much, and they made so many friends among the people of 
quality, she said, she did n't care if they always staid there ; in 
fact, she really wanted Mr. Clayborn to buy one of the castles, 
and be a nobleman himself ; ' but he would n't,' says she ; ' he 's 
such a strong Democrat, you know.' Ha ! ha ! ha ! I wonder 
what old Tom JefF. would have said to these swell-head Dem- 
ocrats." 

WHERE ARE ALL THE POOR PEOPLE? 

I asked him if there were no poor people in this country. I 
could see no houses which seemed to belong to poor people. 

" Of course not, sir — every inch, of the land bought up by the 
swell-heads on purpose to keep them away. But you go back 
on to the pine ridge. Good Lord ! I've heard a heap about the 
poor folks at the North ; but if you ever saw any poorer people 
than them, I should like to know what they live on. Must be a 
miracle if they live at all. I don't see how these people Hve, 
and I've wondered how they do a great many times. Don't 
raise corn enough, great many of them, to keep a shoat alive 
through the winter. There's no way they can live, 'less they 
steal." 

EXPERIENCE OF A FOREIGN" TOURIST. 

At the ferry of the Ilomochitto I fell in with a German, orig- 
inally from Dusseldorf, whence he came seventeen years ago, 



34 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

first to New York ; afterward lie had resided successively in Bal- 
timore, Cincinnati, New Orleans, Pensacola, Mobile, and Nat- 
chez. By the time he reached the last place he had lost all his 
money. 'Going to work as a laborer in the town, he soon earned 
enough again to set him up as a trinket peddler; and a few 
months afterward he was able to buy "a leetle coach-dray." 
Then, he said, he made money fast ; for he would go back into 
the country, among the poor people, and sell them trinkets, and 
calico, and handkerchiefs, and patent medicines. They never 
had any money. " All poor folks," he said ; " dam poor ; got 
no money ; oh no ; but I say, dat too bad, I do n't like to balk 
you, my friend ; may be so, you got some egg, some fedder, some 
cheeken, some rag, some sass, or some skin vot you kill. I 
takes deni dings vot they have, and ven I gets my load I cums 
to Natchez back and sells dem, alvays dwo or dree times so 
much as dey coss me ; and den I buys some more goods. Not 
bad beesnes — no. Oh, dese poor people dey deenk me is von 
fool ven I buy some dime deir rag vat dey bin vear ; dey calls 
me de ole Dutch cuss. But dey do n't know nottin' vot it is 
vorth. I deenk dey neever see no money ; may be so dey geev 
all de cheeken vot dey been got for a leetle breastpin vot cost 
me not so much as von beet. Sometime dey be dam crazy fool ; 
dey know not how do make de count at all. Yees, I makes 
some money, a heap." 

NATCHEZ. 

From the Homochitto to the suburbs of Natchez, a good half 
day's ride, I found the country beautiful ; fewer hills than before, 
the soil very rich, and the land almost all inclosed in plantations, 
the roadside boundaries of which are old rose-hedges. The road 



THE VALLEY OF THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI. 85 

is well constructed ; often, in passing tliroiigh the hills, with high 
banks on each side, coped with thick and dark, but free and 
sportive hedges, out of which avenues of trees growing carelessly 
and bending angel-like over the traveler, the sentiment of the 
most charming Herefordshire lanes is reproduced. There are 
also frequent woods, of a park-like character in their openness ; 
the trees chiefly oak, and of great hight. Sometimes these have 
been inclosed with neat palings, and slightly and tastily thinned 
out, so as to form noble grounds around the residences of the 
planters, which are always cottages or very simple and unosten- 
tatious mansions. Near two of these are unusually good ranges 
of negro-houses. On many of the plantations, perhaps most, no 
residence is visible from the road, and the negro-quarters, when 
Been, are the usual comfortless cabins. 

Within three miles of the town the country is entirely occu- 
pied by houses and grounds of a villa character ; the grounds 
usually exhibiting a paltry taste, with miniature terraces, and 
trees and shrubs planted and trimmed with no regard to archi- 
tectural and landscape considerations. There is, however, an 
abundance of good trees, much beautiful shrubber}^, and the best 
hedges and screens of evergreen shrubs that I have seen in 
America. The houses are not remarkable. 

I was amused to recognize specimens of the " swell-head" frater- 
nity, as described by my nervous friend, as soon as I got into the 
villa district. First came two boys in a skeleton wagon, pitching 
along with a racking pony, .which ran over Jude ; she yelped, I 
wheeled round, and they pulled up and looked apologetic. She 
was only slightly hurt, but thereafter gave a quicker and broader 
sheer to approaching vehicles than her Texas experience had 
taught her to do. 



86 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

Then came four indistinct beards and two old, rone-looking 
men, all trotting lioi'ses ; tlie young fellows screaming, breaking 
up, and swearing. After tliem cantered a mulatto groom, wliite- 
gloved and neatly dressed, who, I noticed, bowed politely, lifting 
his hat and smiling to a ragged old negro with a wheelbarrow 
and shovel, on the footpath. 

Next came — and it was a swelteringly hot afternoon — an 
open carriage with two ladies taking an airing. Mr. S. had said 
the swell-heads had " got to think that their old maumy niggers 
were not good enough for their young ones ;" and here, on the 
front seat of the carriage, was a white and veritable French 
bonne, holding a richly-belaced baby. The ladies sat back, 
good-looking women enough, and prettily dressed, but marble- 
like in propriety, looking stealthily from the corners of their eyes 
without turning their heads. But the dignity of the turn-out 
chiefly reposed in the coachman, an obese old black man, who 
should have been a manufacturer of iced root-beer in a cool cel- 
lar, but who had by some means been set high up in the sun's 
face on the bed-like cushion of the box, to display a great livery 
top-coat, Avith the wonted capes and velvet, buttoned brightly 
and tightly to the chin, of course, and crowned by the proper 
narrow-brimmed hat, with broad band and buckle ; his elbows 
squared, the reins and whip in his hands, the sweat in globules 
all over his ruefully-decorous face, and his eyes fast closed in 
sleep. 

The houses and shops within th€ town itself are generally 
small, and always inelegant. A majority of the names on the 
signs are German ; the hotel is unusually clean, and the servants 
attentive ; and the stable at which I left Belshazzar is excellent, 
and contains several fine horses. Indeed, I never saw such a 



THE VALLEY OP THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI. 37 

large number of fine horses as there is here, in any other town of 
the size. In the stable and the hotel there is a remarkable num- 
ber of young men, extraordinarily dressed, like New York clerks 
on their Sunday excursions, all lounging or sauntering, and often 
calling at the bar ; all smoking, all twisting lithe walking-sticks, 
all " talking horse." 

THE BLUFF. 

But the grand feature of Natchez is the bluff, terminating in 
an abrupt precipice over the river, with the public garden upon 
it. Of this I never had heard, and when, after seeing my horse 
dried off and eating his oats with great satisfaction — the first 
time he has ever tasted oats, I suppose — I strolled oft* to see the 
town, I came upon it by surprise. I entered a gate and walked 
up a slope, supposing that I was approaching the ridge or sum- 
mit of a hill, and expecting to see beyond it a corresponding 
slope and the town again, continuing in terraced streets to the 
river. I found myself, almost at the moment I discovered that 
it was not so, on the very edge of a stupendous clift*, and before 
me an indescribably vast expanse of forest, extending on every 
hand to a hazy horizon, in which, directly in front of me, swung 
the round, red, setting sun. 

Through the otherwise unbroken forest, the Mississippi had 
opened a passage for itself, forming a perfect arc, the hither 
shore of the middle of the curve being hidden under the crest of 
the cliff, and the two ends lost in the vast obscurity of the Great 
West. Overlooked from such an eminence, the size of the Mis- 
sissippi can be realized — a, thing difiicult under ordinary circum- 
stances; but though the fret of a swelling torrent is not wanting, 
it is perceptible only as the most delicate chasing upon the 



38 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

broad, gleaming expanse of polislied steel, wliicli at once sliamed 
all my previous conceptions of tlie appearance of tlie greatest of 
rivers. Coming closer to the edge and looking downward, you 
see the lower town, its roofs with water flowing all around them, 
and its pigmy people wading, and laboring to carry upw^ard their 
goods and furniture, in danger from a rising movement of the 
great water. Poor people, emigrants and niggers only. 

I laid down, and would have reposed my mind in the infinite 
vision westward, but was presently disturbed by a hog which 
came grunting near me, rooting in the poor turf of this wonder- 
ful garden. I rose and walked its length. Little more has been 
done than to inclose a space along the edge, which would have 
been dangerous to build upon, to cut out some curving alleys 
now recaptured by the grass and weeds, and to plant a few suc- 
culent trees. A road to the lower town, cutting through it, is 
crossed by slight wooden foot-bridges, and there are some rough 
plank benches, adorned with stenciled " medical" advertisements. 
Some shrubs are planted on the crumbling face of the cliff, so 
near the top that the swine can obtain access to them. A man, 
bearded and smoking, and a w^oman with him, sitting at the 
extreme end, were the only visitors except myself and the swine. 

As I am writing there is a bustle in the street. A young man 
IS being lifted up and carried into the bar-room. He is insens- 
ible. A beautiful mare, from which he has evidently been 
thrown, is led back from around the corner quivering with ex- 
citement. 

I could find no reading-room ; no recent newspapers except 
The Natchez Free Trader^ which has nothing but cotton and river 



THE VALLEY OF THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI. 30 

news, and steamboat puffs ; no magazines but aged Harpers ; 
and no recent publications of any sort are for sale or to be seen 
at tlie booksellers'; so, after supper, I went to the cliff again, and 
most exquisite and solemn was the scene : the young moon shin- 
ing through rents in the clouds, the great gleaming crescent of 
water below, the dim, un gapped horizon — the earth sensibly a 
mere swinging globe. 

Of all the town, only five Germans, sitting together, but smok- 
ing in silence, had gathered here for evening worship. 

As I returned up the main street, I stopped opposite a house 
from which there came the sound of excellent music — a violin 
and piano. I had heard no music since I was in Yf estern Texas, 
and I leaned upon a lamp- post for an hour, listening. Many 
stopped near me for a few minutes, and went on. At length, a 
man who had remained some time addressed me, speaking in a 
foreign tongue. " Can't you speak English ?" said I. 

" You are not an American ?" 

" Yes." 

" I should tzink it not." 

" I am ; I am a New Yorker." 

" So ? — yes, perhaps, but not zis country." 

" What are you ?" 

"Italian." 

" Do you live here ?" 

"Yes." 

" Arc there many Itahans in Natchez ?" 

"Yes — some many — seven. All big dam rascaal. Yes. 
Ha ! ha ! ha ! True. Dam rascaal all of us." 

" What do you do for a living here ?" 

" For me it is a cigar-store ; fruit ; confectionery.'* 



40 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

" And the rest ?" 

" Oh, everytzing. I do n't expect dem be here so much long 
now." 

" Why— what will they do ?" 

" Dey all go to Cuba. Be vawr zair soon now. All go. All 
dam rascaal go, can go, ven ze vawr is. Good ting dat for Nat- 
chez, eh ? Yes, I tzink." 

He told me the names of the players ; the violinist, an Italian, 
he asserted to be the best in America. He resided in Natchez, 
I understood, as a teacher; and, I presume, the town has 
metropolitan advantages for instruction in all fashionable accom- 
plishments. Yet, with a population of 18,601, the number of 
children registered for the public schools and academies, or " In- 
stitutes," of the county seat, is but 1,015; and among these 
must be included many sent. from other parts of the State, and 
from Arkansas and Louisiana ; the public libraries contain but 
2,000 volumes, and the churches seat but 7,700.* 

Franklin, the next county in the rear of the county in which 
Natchez is situated (Adams), has a population of 6,000, and but 
132 children attending school. 

Mr. Kussell [North America : its Agrimdiurc and Climate^ 
page 258) states that he had been led to believe that "as refined 
society was to be found at Natchez as in any other part of the 
United States," but his personal observation was, that "the chief 
frequenters of the best hotel were low, drunken fellows." 

* This may be compared with the town of Springfield, county of Sangam- 
mon, Illinois, in which, with a population of 19,228 (nearer to that of Nat- 
chez than any other town I observe in the free States), the number of regis- 
tered school children is 3,300, the public libraries contain 20,000 volumes, 
and the churches can accommodate 28,000 sitters. 



THE VALLEY OF THE LOAVER MISSISSIPPI. 41 

LABOR AND WAGES. TOWN AND COUNTRY. 

The first niglit after leaving Natchez I found lodging with a 
German, who, when I inquired if he could accommodate me, at 
once said, " Yes, sir, I make it a business to lodge travelers." 

He had a little farm, and owned four strong negro men and a 
woman and children. All his men, however, he hired out as 
porters or servants in Natchez, employing a white man, a native 
of the country, to work with him on his farm. 

To explain the economy of this arrangement, he said that one 
of his men earned in Natchez $30 a month clear of all expenses, 
and the others much more than he could ever make their labor 
worth to him. A ncQ-ro of moderate intellio-ence would hire, as 
a house-servant, for $200 a year and his board, which was worth 
$8 a month ; whereas he hired this white fellow, who was strong 
and able, for $10 a month; and he believed he got as much 
work out of him as he could out of a negro. If labor were 
worth so much as he got for that of his negroes, why did the 
white man not demand more? Well — he kept him in whiskey 
and tobacco beside his wages, and he was content. Most folks 
here do not like white laborers. They had only been used to 
have niggers do their work, and they did not know how to man- 
age with white laborers ; but he had no difficulty. 

FOOD OF THE SLATES. 

I asked if $8 would cover the cost of a man's board ? lie 
supposed it might cost him rather more than that to keep tlie 
white man ; $8 was what it was generally reckoned in town to 
cost to keep a negro ; niggers living in town or near it were ex- 
pected to have " extras ;" out on the plantations, where they did 
not get any thing but bacon and meal, of course it did not cost 



42 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

SO mucli. Did lie know what it cost to keep a negro generally 
upon the plantations ? It was generally reckoned, he said, that 
a nigger ought to have a peck of meal and three pounds of bacon 
a week; some didn't give so much meat, but he thought it 
would be better to give them more. 

" You are getting rich," I said. " Are the Germans generally, 
hereabouts, doing well ? I see there are a good many in Nat- 
chez." 

" Oh yes ; anybody who is not too proud to work can get rich 
here." 

The next day, having ridden thirty tedious miles, about six 
o'clock I called at the first house standing upon or near the road 
which I had seen for some time, and solicited a lodging. It was 
refused, by a woman. How far was it to the next house ? I asked 
her. Two miles and a half. So I found it to be, but it was a 
deserted house, falling to decay, on an abandoned plantation. I 
rode several miles further, and it was growing dark and threat- 
ening rain before I came in sight of another. It was a short dis- 
tance off the road, and approached by a private lane, from which 
it was separated by a grass plat. A well-dressed man stood be- 
tween the gate and the house. I stopped and bowed to him, but 
he turned his back upon me and walked to the house. I opened 
a gate and rode in. Two men were upon the gallery, but as 
they paid no attention to my presence when I stopped near 
them, I doubted if either were the master of the house. I asked, 
" Could I obtain a lodging here to-night, gentlemen ?" One of 
them answered, surlily and decidedly, " No." I paused a mo- 
ment that they might observe me — evidently a stranger be- 
nighted, with a fatigued horse, and then asked, " Can you tell 
me, sir, how far it is to a public house ?" " I do n't know," an- 



THE VALLEY OF THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI. 43 

swered the same man. 1 again remained silent a moment. 
" No public houses in this section of the country, I reckon, sir," 
said the other. " Do you know how far it is to the next house 
on the road, north of this ?" " No," answered one. " You '11 
find one about two miles or two miles and a half from here," said 
the other. " Is it a house in which I shall be likely to get a 
lodging, do you know ?" " I do n't know, I 'm sure." 

"Good night, gentlemen ; you'll excuse me for troubling you. 
I am entirely a stranger in this region." 

A grunt, or inarticulate monosyllable, from one of them, was 
the only reply, and I rode away, glad that I had not been fated 
to spend an evening in such company. 

Soon afterward I came to a house and stables close upon the 
road. There was a man on the gallery playing the fiddle. I 
asked, " Could yoii accommodate me here to-night, sir ?" He 
stopped fiddling, and turned his head toward an open door, ask- 
ing, " Wants to know if you can accommodate him ?" " Accom- 
modate him with what?" demanded a harsh-toned woman's voice. 
" With a bed, of course — w^hat do you s'pose — ho ! ho ! ho !" 
and he went on fiddling again. I had, during this conversation, 
observed ranges of negro huts behind the stables, and perceived 
that it must be the overseer's house of the plantation at which I 
had previously called. " Like master, like man," I thought, and 
rode on, my inquiry not having been even answered. 

I met a negro boy on the road, who told me it was about two 
miles to the next house, but he did not reckon that I would get 
in there. " How far to the next house beyond that ?" "About 
four miles, sir, and I reckon you can get in there, master ; I 've 
heerd they did take in travelers to that place." 

Soon after this it began to rain and grow dark ; so dark tliat 



44 A JOUBNEY IN THE BACK COUNTKY. 

I could not keep the road, for soon finding Belshazzar in diffi- 
culty, I got off and discovered that we were following up tlie dry 
bed of a small stream. In trying to get back I probably crossed 
the road, as I did not find it again, and wandered cautiously 
among trees for nearly an hour, at length coming to open coun- 
try and a fence. Keeping this in sight, I rode on until. I found 
a gate, entering at which, I followed a nearly straight and toler- 
ably good road full an hour, at last coming to a large negro- 
" settlement." 

AN OVERSEER AT HOME. 

I passed through it to the end of the rows, where was a cabin 
larger than the rest, facing on the space between the two lines of 
huts. A shout here brought out the overseer. I begged for a 
night's lodging ; he was silent; I said that I had traveled far, 
was much fatigued and hungry ; my horse was nearly knocked 
up ; and I was a stranger in the country ; I had lost my road, 
and only by good fortune had found my way here. At length, 
as I continued urging my need, he said : 

"Well, I suppose you must stop. IIo, Byron ! Here, Byron, 
take this man's horse, and put him in my stable. 'Light, sir, 
and come in." 

Within I found his wife, a young woman, showily dressed — a 
caricature of the fashions of the day. Apparently, they had 
both been making a visit to neighbors, and but just come home. 
I was not received very kindly, but at the request of her husband 
she brouficht out and set before me some cold corn-bread and fat 
bacon. 

Before I had finished eating my supper, however, they both 
quite changed their manner, and the woman apologized for not 



THE VALLEY OF THE LOWER MISSISSirPI. 45 

Laving made coffee. Tlie cook had gone to bed and tlie fire 
was out, she said. She presently ordered Byron, as he brought 
my saddle in, to get some " light-wood" and make a fire ; said 
she was afraid I had made a poor supper, and set a chair by the 
fire-place for me as I drew away from the table. 

I plied the man with inquiries about*his business, got him in- 
terested in points of difi'erence between Northern and Southern 
agriculture, and soon had him in a very sociable and communi- 
cative humor. He gave me much overseer's lore about cotton 
culture, nigger and cattle maladies, the proper mode of keeping 
sweet potatoes, etc. ; and when I proposed to ride over the plan- 
tation with him in the morning, he said he " would be very 
thankful of my company." 

I think they gave up their own bed to me, for it was double, 
and had been slept in since the sheets were last changed ; the 
room was garnished with pistols and other arms and ammunition, 
rolls of negro-cloth, shoes and hats, handcuffs, a large medicine 
chest and several books on medical and surgical subjects and far- 
riery ; while articles of both men's and women's wearing apparel 
hung against the walls, wdiich w^ere also decorated with some 
large patent-medicine posters. One of them is characteristic of 
the place and the times.* 

* The Washington Remedies — ^To Planters and Others. — These 
Remedies, now offered to the public under the title of the "Washington Rem- 
edies, are composed of ingredients, many of which are not even known to 
Botany. N"o apothecary has tliem for sale ; they are supplied to the sub- 
scriber by the native red-men of Louisiana. The recipes by which they are 
compounded have descended to the present possessor, M. A. Micklejoiin, 
from ancestors who obtained them from the friendly Indian tribes, prior to 
and during the Revolution, and they are now offered to the public with that 
confldenco which has been gained from a knowledge of the fact that during 
so long a series of years there lias never been known an instance in which 



46 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

REVIEW OF A FIRST-RATE COTTON PLANTATION. 

We had a good breakfast in tlie morning, and immediately 
afterward mounted and rode to a very large cotton-field, where 
the whole field-force of the plantation was engaged. 

It was a first-rate plantation. On the highest ground stood a 
large and handsome mansion, but it had not been occupied for 
several years, and it was more than two years since the overseer 
had seen the owner. He lived several hundred miles away, and 
the overseer would not believe that I did not know him, for he 
was a rich man and an honorable, and had several times been 
where I came from — New York. 

The whole plantation, including the swamp land around it, and 
owned with it, covered several square miles. It was four miles 
from the settlement to the nearest neighbor's house. There were 
between thirteen and fourteen hundred acres under cultivation 
w^ith cotton, corn, and other hoed crops, and two hundred hogs 
runnino- at larofe in the swamp. It was the intention that 
corn and pork enough should be raised to keep the slaves and 
cattle. This year, however, it has been found necessary to pur- 
chase largely, and such was probably usually the case,* though 

they have failed to perform a speedy and permanent cure. The subscribers 
do not profess these remedies will cure every disarrangement of the human 
system, but in such as are enumerated below they feel they can not fail- 
The directions for use have only to be strictly followed, and however de- 
spairing the patient may have been, he will find cause for blissful hope and 
renewed life. 

These preparations are no Northern patent humbug, but are manufactured in 
New Orleans by a Creole, who has long used them in private practice, res- 
cuing many unfortunate victims of disease from the grave, after they have 
been given up by their physicians as incurable, or have been tortured be- 
yond endurance by laceration and painful operations. 

* " The bacoji is almost entirely imported from the Northern States, as well 



THE VALLEY OF THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI. 47 

the overseer intimated the owner had been displeased, and he 
" did not mean to be caught so' bad again." 

There were 135 slaves, big and little, of which 67 went to field 
regularly — equal, the overseer thought, to 60 able-bodied hands. 
Beside the field-hands, there were 3 mechanics (blacksmith, car- 
penter and wheelwright), 2 seamstresses, 1 cook, 1 stable servant, 
1 cattle-tender, 1 hog-tender, 1 teamster, 1 house servant (over- 
seer's cook), and one midwife and nurse. These were all first- 
class hands ; most of them would be worth more, if they were 
for sale, the overseer said, than the best field-hands. There was 
also a driver of the hoe gang who did not labor personally, and 
a foreman of the plow-gang. These two acted as petty officers 
in the field, and alternately in the quarters. 

There was a nursery for sucklings at the quarters, and twenty 
women at this time who left their work four times each day, for 
half an hour, to nurse their young ones, and whom the overseer 
counted as half-hands — that is, expected to do half an ordinary 
day's work. 

DESERTERS AND DETECTIVES. 

He had no runaways out at this time, but had just sold a bad 
one to go to Texas. He was whipping the fellow, when he 
turned and tried to stab him — then broke from him and ran 
away. He had him caught almost immediately by the dogs. 

as a considerable quantity of Indian corn. This is reckoned bad manage- 
ment by intelligent planters. * * * On this plantation as much Indian 
corn was raised as was needed, but little bacon, which was mostly imported 
from Ohio. The sum annually paid for this article was upward of eight 
hundred pounds. Large plantations are not suited to the rearing of hogs; for 
it is found almost impossible to prevent the negroes from steaUug and roast- 
ing the young pigs." Mr. Eussoll, visiting the plantation of a friend near 
Natchez. — North America : its Agriculture, etc., p. 2G5. 



48 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

After catcliing liim, lie kept liim in irons till lie bad a chance to 
sell him. His niggers did not very often run away, he said, be- 
cause they were ahnost sure to be caught. As soon as he saw 
that one was gone he put the dogs on, and if rain had not just 
fallen, they would soon find him. Sometimes, though, they 
would outwit the dogs, but if they did they almost always kept 
in the neighborhood, because they did not like to go where they 
could not sometimes get back and see their families, and he 
would soon get wind of where they had been ; they would come 
round their quarters to see their families and to get food, and as 
soon as he knew it, he would find their tracks and put the dogs 
on again. Two months was the longest time any of them ever 
kept out. They had dogs trained on purpose to run after nig- 
gers, and never let out for any thing else. 

DRIVING. 

We found in the field thirty plows, moving together, turning 
the earth from the cotton plants, and from thirty to forty hoers, 
the latter mainly women, with a black driver walking about 
among them with a whip, which he often cracked at them, 
sometimes allowing the lash to fall lightly upon their shoulders. 
He was constantly urging them also with his voice. All worked 
very steadily, and though the presence of a stranger on the plan- 
tation must have been rare, I saw none raise or turn their heads 
to look at me. Eacli gang was attended by a " water-toter," that 
of the hoe-gang being a straight, sprightly, plump little black girl, 
whose picture, as she stood balancing the bucket upon her head, 
shading her bright eyes with one hand, and holding out a cala- 
bash with the other to maintain her poise, would have been a 
worthy study for Murillo. 



THE VALLEY OF THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI. 49 

DAYS AND HOURS OF LABOR. 

I asked at what time tliey began to work in the morning. 
*' Well," said the overseer, "I do better by my niggers than most. 
I keep 'em right smart at their work while they do work, but I 
generally knock 'em oflf at 8 o'clock in the morning Saturdays, 
and give 'em all the rest of the day to themselves, and I always 
gives 'em Sundays, the whole day. Pickin' time, and when the 
crap's bad in grass, I sometimes keep 'em to it till about sunset, 
Saturdays, but I never work 'em Sundays." 

" How early do you start them out in the morning, usually ?" 

" Well, I do n't never start my niggers 'fore daylight except 
'tis in pickin' time, then maybe I get 'em out a quarter of an 
hour before. But I keep 'era right smart to work through the 
day." He showed an evident pride in the vigilance of his driver, 
and called my attention to the large area of ground already hoed 
over that morning ; well hoed, too, as he said. 

" At what time do they eat ?" I asked. They ate " their 
snacks" in their cabins, he said, before they came out in the 
morning (that is before daylight — the sun rising at this time at a 
little before five, and the day dawning, probably, an hour earlier) ; 
then at 12 o'clock their dinner was brought to them in a cart — 
one cart for the plow-gang and one for the hoe-gang. The hoe 
gang ate its dinner in the field, and only stopped work long 
enough to eat it. The plow-gang drove its teams to the " weath- 
er houses" — open sheds erected for the purpose in different parts 
of the plantation, under which were cisterns filled with rain wa- 
ter, from which the water-toters carried drink to those at work. 
The mules were fed as much oats (in straw), corn and fodder as 
they would eat in two hours ; this forage having been brought 
to the weather houses by another cart. The plowmen had noth- 



50 A JOUENEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

ing to do but eat their dinner in all this time. All worked as 
late as they could see to work well, and had no more food nor 
rest until they returned to their cabins.* At half past nine 
o'clock the drivers, each on an alternate night, blew a horn, and 
at ten visited every cabin to see that its occupants were at rest, 
and not lurking about and spending their strength in fooleries, 
and that the fires were safe — a very unusual precaution ; the 
negroes are generally at liberty after their day's work is done till 
they are called in the morning. When washing and patching 
were done, wood hauled and cut for the fires, corn ground, etc., I 
did not learn : probably all chores not of daily necessity, were 
reserved for Saturday. Custom varies in this respect. In gen- 
eral, with regard to fuel for the cabins, the negroes are left to 
look out for themselves, and they often have to go to " the 
swamp" for it, or at least, if it has been hauled, to cut it to a 
convenient size, after their day's work is done. The allowance of 
food was a peck of corn and four pounds of pork per week, each. 
When they could not get " greens" (any vegetables) he generally 
gave them five pounds of pork. They had gardens, and raised 
a good deal for themselves ; they also had fowls, and usually 
plenty of eggs. He added, "the man who owns this plantation 
does more for his niggers than any other man I know. Every 

* This would give at this season hardly less than sixteen hours of plod- 
ding labor, relieved by but one short interval of rest, during the daylight, for 
the hoe-gang. It is not improbable. I was accustomed to rise early and 
ride late, resting during the heat of the day, while in the cotton district, but 
I always found the negroes in the field when I first looked out, and gen- 
erally had to wait for the negroes to come from the field to have my 
horse fed when I stopped for the night. (See Journey in Texas, p. 82.) I am 
told, however, and I believe, that it is usual in the hottest weather, to give 
a rest of an hour or two to all hands at noon. I never happened to see it 
done. The legal limit or a slave's days work in S. Carolina is 15 hours. 



THE VALLEY OF THE LOWER MISSISSIPPL 51 

Christmas he sends me up a thousand or fifteen hundred dollars' 
[equal to eight or ten dollars each] worth of molasses and coffee, 
and tobacco, and calico, and Sunday tricks for 'em. Every fam- 
ily on this plantation gets a barrel of molasses at Christmas." 
(Not an uncommon practice in Mississippi, though the quantity 
is very rarely so generous. It is usually made somewhat pro- 
portionate to the value of the last crop sold.)* 

Beside which, the overseer added, they are able,if they choose, 
to buy certain comforts for themselves — tobacco for instance — 
with money earned by Saturday and Sunday work. Some of 
them went into the swamps on Sunday and made boards — " pun- 
cheons" made with the ax. One man sold last year as mucb as 
fifty dollars' worth. 

Finding myself nearer the outer gate than the " quarters," 
when at length ray curiosity was satisfied, I did not return to the 
house. After getting a clear direction how to find my way back 
to the road I had been upon the previous day, I said to the 
overseer, with some hesitation lest it should oftend him, " You 
will allow me to pay you for the trouble I have given you ?" He 
looked a little disconcerted by my putting the question in this 
way, but answered in a matter-of-course tone, " It will be a dollar 
and a quarter, sir." 

This was the only large plantation that I had an opportunity 
of seeing at all closely, over which I was not chiefly conducted 
by an educated gentleman and slave owner, by whose habitual 
impressions and sentiments my own were probably somewhat in- 
fluenced. From what I saw in passing, and from what I heard 

* I was told by a gentleman in North Carolina, that the custom of supply- 
ing molasses to negroes in Mississippi, was usually mentioned to those sold 
away from his part of the country, to reconcile them to going thither 

3* 



52 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

by cliance of others, I suppose it to have been in no respect an 
unfavorable specimen of those plantations on which the owners 
do not reside. A merchant of the vicinity recently in New York 
tells me that he supposes it to be a fair enough sample of plan- 
tations of 'its class. There is nothing remarkable in its manage- 
ment that he had heard. When I asked about molasses and 
Christmas presents, he said he reckoned the overseer rather 
stretched that story, but the owner was a very good man. A 
magistrate of the district, who had often been on the plantation, 
said in answer to an inquiry from me, that the negroes were very 
well treated upon it, though not extraordinarily so. His compar- 
ison was with plantations in general.* He also spoke well of the 
overseer. He had been a long time on this plantation — I think 
he said, ever since it had begun to be cultivated. This is very 
rare ; it was the only case I met with in which an overseer had 
kept the same place ten years, and it was a strong evidence of 
his comparative excellence, that his employer had been so long 
satisfied with him. Perhaps it was a stronger evidence that the 



* In Debow's Resources of the Soutli, voL i., p. 150, a table is furnished 
by a cotton planter to show that the expenses of raising cotton are " gener- 
ally greatly underrated." It is to be inferred that they certainly are not un- 
derrated in the table. On " a well improved and properly organized planta- 
tion," the expense of feeding one hundred negroes, " as deduced from fifteen 
years' experience" of the writer, is asserted in this table to be $750 per an- 
num, or seven dollars and a half each ; in this sum is included, however, 
the expenses of the "hospital and the overseer's table." This is much less 
than the expense for the same purposes, if the overseer's account was true, 
of the plantation above described. Clothing, shoes, bedding, sacks for gath- 
ering cotton, and so forth, are estimated by the same authority to cost an equal 
sum — $7,50 for each slave. I have just paid on account of a day laborer on 
a farm in New York, his board bill, he being a bachelor living at the house 
of another Irish laborer with a family. The charge is twenty-one times as 
large as that set down for the slave. 



THE VALLEY OF THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI. 53 

owner of the negroes was a man of good temper, systematic and 
thorough in the management of his property.* 

The condition of the fences, of the mules and tools, and till- 
age, which w^ould have been considered admirable in the best 
farming district of New York — the dress of the negroes and the 
neatness and spaciousness of their " quarters," which were supe- 
rior to those of most of the better class of plantations on which 
the owners reside, all bore strong testimony to a very unusually 
prudent and j^rovident policy. 

I made no special inquiries about the advantages for education 
or means of religious instruction provided for the slaves. As 
there seems to be much public desire for definite information 
upon that point, I regret that I did not. I did not need to put 
questions to the overseer to satisfy my own mind, however. It 
was obvious that all natural incitements to self-advancement had 
been studiously removed or obstructed, in subordination to the 
general purpose of making the plantation profitable. The ma- 
chinery of labor was ungeared during a day and a half a week, 
for cleaning and repairs ; experience having proved here, as it 
has in Manchester and New York, that operatives do very much 
better w#rk if thus privileged. During this interval, a Hmited 
play to individual qualities and impulses was permitted in the cul- 
ture of such luxuries as potatoes and pumpkins, the repair of gar- 
ments, and in other sordid recreations involving the least possible 

* " I was informed that some successful planters, who held several estates 
ia this neighborhood [Natchez] made it a rule to change their overseers every 
year, on the principle that the two years' service system is sure to spoil them." 
— RusseWs North America: its Agriculture, etc., p. 258. 

" Overseers are changed every year ; a few remain four or five years, but 
the average time they remain on the same plantation does not exceed two 
years." — Southern Agriculturist, vol. iv., p. 351. 



^^ A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTEY. 

intellectual friction. Regarding only the balance sheet of the 
owner's ledger, it was admirable management. I am sorry to 
think that it is rare, where this is the uppermost object of the 
cotton-planter, that an equally frugal economy is maintained ; and 
as the general character of the district along the Mississippi, 
which is especially noticeable for the number of large and very 
productive plantations which it contains, has perhaps been suffi- 
ciently drawn in my narrative, I will now present, in a collect- 
ive form, before entering a different region, certain observations 
which I wish to make upon the peculiar aspect of slavery in that 
and similar parts of the southern States. 



CHAPTER II. 

THE PROPERTY ASPECT OP SLAYERT. 

In a hilly part of Alabama, fifty miles nortli of the principal 
cotton-growing districts of that State, I happened to have a 
tradesman of the vicinity for a traveling companion, when we 
passed a rather large plantation. Calling my attention to the 
unusually large cluster of negro cabins, he observed that a rug- 
ged range of hills behind them was a favorite lurking-ground for 
runaw^ay negroes. It afforded them numerous coverts for con- 
cealment during the day, and at night the slaves of this planta- 
tion would help them to find the necessaries of existence. He 
had seen folks who had come here to look after niggers from 
plantations two hundred miles to the southward. " I suppose," 
said he, " 't would seem kind o' barbarous to you to see a pack 
of hounds after a human being ?" 

" Yes, it would." 

" Some fellows take just as much delight in it as in runnin' a 
fox. Always seemed to me a kind o' barbarous sport." [A 
pause.] " It 's necessary, though." 

" I suppose it is. Slavery is a custom of society which has 
come to us from a barbarous people, and naturally, barbarous 
practices have to be employed to maintain it." 

« Yes, I s'pose that's so. But niggers is generally pretty well 
treated, considering. Some people work their niggers too hard, 
that's a fact. I know a man at ; he's a merchant there, and 



56 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

I have had dealings with him ; he 's got three plantations, and 
he puts the hardest overseers he can get on them. He is all the 
time a' buying niggers, and they say around there he works 'em 
to death. On these small plantations, niggers ain't very often 
whipped bad ; but on them big plantations, they 've got to use 
'^em hard to keep any sort o' control over 'em. The overseers 
have to always go about armed ; their life would n't be safe, if 
they did n't. As 't is, they very often get cut pretty bad." (Cut- 
ting is knifing — it may be stabbing, in south-western parlance). 

" In such cases, what is done with the negro ?" 

" Oh, he gets hung for that— if he cuts a white man : that's 
the law ; ' intent to kill,' they call it ; and the State pays the 
owner what he 's worth, to hang him." 

He went on to describe what he had seen on some large plan- 
tations which he had visited for business purposes — indications, as 
he thought, in the appearance of "the people," that they were 
being " worked to death." " These rich men," he said, " were 
always bidding for the overseer who would make the most cotton ; 
and a great many of the overseers did not care for any thing but 
to be able to say they had made so many bales in a year. If they 
made plenty of cotton, the owners never asked how many nig- 
gers they killed." 

I suggested that this did not seem quite credible ; a negro 
was a valuable piece of property. It would be foolish to use 
him in such a way. 

" Seems they do n't think so," he answered. " They are al- 
ways bragging — you must have heard them — how many bales 
their overseer has made, or how many their plantation has made 
to a hand. They never think of any thing else. You see, if a 
man did like to have his niggers taken care of, he could n't bear 



THE PROPERTY ASPECT OF SLAVERY. 57 

to be always hearing that all the plantations round had beat his. 
He 'd think the fault was in his overseer. The fellow who can 
make the most cotton always gets paid the best."* 

Overseers' wages were ordinarily from $200 to $600, but a 
real driving overseer would very often get $1,000. Sometimes 
they'd get $1,200 or $1,500. He heard of $2,000 being paid 
one fellow.f A determined and perfectly relentless man — I can't 
recall his words, which were very expressive — a real devil of an 
overseer, would get ahiiost any wages he'd ask; because, when 
it was told round that such a man had made so many bales to 
the hand, everybody would be trying to get him. 

The man who talked in this way was a native Alafeamian, ig- 
norant, but apparently of more than ordinarily reflective habits, 
and so situated as to have unusually good opportunities for ob- 
servation. In character, if not in detail, I must say that his in- 



* Another person in this vicinity observed to me, that it was one of the 
effects of the increasing demand for cotton, that planters who would formerly 
have discharged an overseer for cruel usage of his slave, now thought it 
right to let him have his own way. '' If he makes cotton euougli, they do n't 
think (hey ought to interfere with him." 

f "Editors of Delta : Under the head of ' Home Eeforms,' in your paper 
of the 19th ultimo, I find views and opinions in regard to the institution of 
slavery identical with those long entertained by myself, and embodied, some 
years ago, in a communication to your predecessors. 

"I hold, sirs, that no gentleman will intentionally injure or oppress a poor 
slave or others under his authority or protection ; and I insist upon the 
justice and propriety of a rigid enforcement of our humane laws, no matter 
by whom violated, or how high the offender. * * * 

" The defective education and consequent habits of the overseers of the 
South, with a few exceptions, disqualify them for the high and sacred trust 
confided to them; and yet the extravagant salaries which they receive (from 
one to three thousand dollars) [i. e., on sugar plantations] should command 
the services of men of exemplary character and distinguished abilities." — 
N'nv Orlcnnfi Delta, Dec, 1856, 



58 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

formation was entirely in accordance with tlie opinions I sliould 
have been led to form from the conversations I heard by chance, 
from time to time, in the richest cotton districts. That his state- 
ments as to the bad management of large plantations, in respect 
to the waste of negro property, were not much exaggerated, 
I find frequent evidence in southern agricultural journals. The 
following is. an extract from one of a series of essays published in 
The Cotton Planter^ the object of which is to present the eco- 
nomical advantages of a more mixed system of agriculture than 
is usually followed in the cotton region. The writer, Mr. M. W. 
Phillips, is a well-known, intelligent and benevolent planter, who 
resides constantly on his estate, near Jackson, Mississippi : 

" I have known many in the rich planting portion of Mississippi es- 
pecially, and others elsewhere, who, acting on the policy of the boy in 
the fable, who ' killed the goose for the golden egg' accumulated 
property, yet among those who have relied solely on their product in 
land and negroes, I doubt if this be the true policy of plantation econ- 
omy. With the former every thing has to bend, give way to large 
crops of cotton, land has to be cultivated wet or dry, negroes to work, 
cold or hot. Large crops planted, and they must be cultivated, or 
done so after a manner. When disease comes about, as, for instance, 
cholera, pneumonia, flux, and other violent diseases, these are more 
subject, it seemeth to me, than others, or even if not, there is less vital- 
ity to work on, and, therefore, in like situations and similar in severity, 
they must sink with more certainty ; or even should the animal econ- 
omy rally under all these trials, the neglect consequent upon this ' cut 
and cover' policy must result in greater mortahty. Another objection, 
not one fourth of the children born are raised, and perhaps not over 
two thirds are born on the place, which, under a different policy, might 
be expected. And this is not all : hands, and teams, and land must 
wear out sooner ; admitting this to be only one year sooner in twenty 
years, or that lands and negroes are less productive at forty than at 
forty-two, we see a heavy loss. Is this not so ? I am told of negroes 
not over thirty-five to forty-five, who look older than others at forty- 
five to fifty-five. I know a man now, not short of sixty, who might 
readily be taken for forty-five ; another on the same place full fifty (for 
I have known both for twenty-eight years, and the last one for thirty- 
two years), who could be sold for thirty-five, and these negroes are 
very leniently dealt with. Others, many others, I know and have 
known twenty-five to thirty years, of whom I can speak of as above. 



THE PROPERTY ASPECT OF SLAVERY. 59 

As to rearing children, I can point to equally as strong cases ; aye, 
men who are, 'as it were,' of one family, differing as much as four and 
eight bales in cropping, and equally as much in raising young negroes. 
The one scarcely paying expenses by his crop, yet in the past twenty- 
five years raising over seventy-five to a hundred negroes, the other 
buying more than raised, and yet not as many as the first. 

" I regard the 'just medium' to be the correct point. Labor is con- 
ducive to health ; a healthy woman will rear most children. I favor 
good and fair work, yet not overworked so as to tax the animal econ- 
omy, that the woman can not rear healthy children, nor should the fa- 
ther be over-Avrought, that his vital powers be at all infringed upon. 

" If the pohcy be adopted, to make an improvement in land visible, 
to raise the greatest number of healthy children, to make an abundance 
of provision, to rear a portion at least of work horses, rely on it we 
will soon find by our tax list that our country is improving. * * =i; 

Brethren of the South, we must change our policy. Overseers are 
not interested in raising children, or meat, in improving land, or improv- 
ing p)i~oductive qualities of seed, or animals. Many of them do not care 
ivhether property has depreciated or improved, so they have made a crop 
to boost of 

" As to myself, I care not who has the credit of making crops at Log 
Hall, and I would prefer that an overseer, who has been one of my 
family for a year or two, or more, should be benefited ; but this thing 
is to be known and well understood. ^ I plant such fields in such crops 
as I see fit ; I plant acres in corn, cotton, oats, potatoes, etc., as I select, 
and the general pohcy of rest, cultivation, etc., must be preserved 
which I lay down, A Self-willed overseer may fraudulently change 
somewhat in the latter, by not carrying out orders — that I can not 
help. What I have written, I have written, and think I can sub- 
stantiate." 



From the Southern Agriculturist^ vol. iv,, page 317 : 

" OVERSEERS. 

* * * « When they seek a place, they rest their claims entirely 
on the number of bags they have heretofore made to the hand, and 
generally the employer unfortunately recognizes the justice of such 
claims. 

" No wonder, then, that the overseer desires to have entire control 
of the plantation. No wonder he opposes all experiments, or, if they 
are persisted in, neglects them ; presses every thing at the end of the 
lash ; pays no attention to the sick, except to keep them in the field as long 
as possible ; and drives them out again at the first moment, and forces 
sucklers and breeders to the utmost. He has no other interest tlian to 
make a big cotton crop. And if this does not please you, and induce 
you to increase his wages, he knows men it will please, and secure 
him a situation with." 



60 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTEY. 



From the Columbia South Carolinian : 

* * * " Planters may be divided into two great classes, viz., those 
who attend to their business, and those who do not. And this creates 
corresponding classes of overseers. The planter who does not manage 
his own business must, of course, surrender every thing into the hands 
of his overseer. Such a planter usually rates the merits of the over- 
seer exactly in proportion to the number of bags of cotton he makes, 
and of course the overseer cares for nothing but to make a large crop. 
To him it is of no consequence that the old hands are worked down, or 
the young ones overstrained ; that the breeding women miscarry, and 
the sucklers lose their children ; that the mules are brokea down, the 
plantation tools destroyed, the stock neglected, and the lands ruined : 
so that he has the requisite number of cotton bags, all is overlooked ; 
he is reemployed at an advanced salary, and his reputation increased. 
Everybody knows that by such a course, a crop may be increased by 
the most inferior overseer, in any given year, unless his predecessors 
have so entirely exhausted the resources of the plantation, that there is 
no part of the capital left which can be wrought up into current in- 
come. * * * Having once had the sole management of a planta- 
tion, and imbibed the idea that the only test of good planting is to 
make a large crop of cotton, an overseer becomes worthless. He will 
no longer obey orders ; he will not stoop to details ; he scorns aU im- 
provements, and will not adopt any other plan of planting than simply 
to work lands, negroes, and mules to the top of their bent, which 
necessarily proves fatal to every employer who will allow it. 

" It seems scarcely credible, that any man owning a plantation will 
so abandon it and his people on it entirely to a hireling, no matter 
what his confidence in him is. Yet there are numbers who do it 
habitually ; and I have even known overseers to stipulate that their em- 
ployers should not give any order, nor interfere in any way with their 
management of the plantation. There are also some proprietors of 
considerable property and pretension to being planters, who give their 
overseer a proportion of the crop for his wages ; thus bribing him by 
the strongest inducements of self-interest, to overstrain and work down 
every thing committed to his charge. 

" No planter, who attends to his own business, can dispense with 
agents and sub-agents. It is impossible, on a plantation of any size, 
for the pi'oprietor to attend to all the details, many of which are irk- 
some and laborious, and he requires more intelligence to assist him 
than slaves usually possess. To him, therefore, a good overseer is a 
blessing. But an overseer who would answer the views of such a 
planter is most difficult to find. The men engaged in that occupation 
who combine the most intelhgence, industry, and character, are allured 
into the service of those who place all power in their hands, and are 
utimately spoiled." 



THE PROPERTY ASPECT OF SLAVERY. 61 

An English traveler writes to the London Daily News from 
Mississippi (1857) : 

'' On crossing the Big Block river, I left the sand hills and began to 
find myself in the rich loam of the valley of the Mississippi. The 
plantations became larger, the clearings more numerous and extensive, 
and the roads less hilly, but worse. Along the Yazoo river one 
meets with some of the richest soil in the world, and some of the larg- 
est crops of cotton in the Union. My first night in that region was 
passed at the house of a planter who worked but few hands, was a fast 
friend of slavery, and yet drew for my benefit one of the most mourn- 
ful pictures of a slave's hfe I have ever met with. He said, and I be- 
lieve truly, that the negroes of small planters are, on the whole, well 
treated, or at least as well as the owners can afford to treat them. 
Their master not unfrequently works side by side with them in the 
fields. * * * But on the large plantations, where the business is 
carried on by an overseer, and every thing is conducted with military 
strictness and discipline, he described matters as being widely different. 
The future of the overseer depends altogether on the quantity of cotton 
he is able to make up for the market. Whether the owner be resident 
or non-resident, ff the plantation be large, and a great number of hands 
be employed upon it, the overseer gets credit for a large crop, and 
blame for a small one. His professional reputation depends in a great 
measure upon the number of bales or hogsheads he is able to produce, 
and neither his education nor his habits are such as to render it likely 
that he would allow any consideration for the negroes to stand in the way 
of his advancing it. His interest is to get as much work out of them as 
they can possibly perform. His skill consists in knowing exactly how 
hard they may be driven without incapacitating them for future ex- 
ertion. The larger the plantation the less chance there is, of course, of 
the owner's softening the rigor of the overseer, or the sternness of dis- 
cipline by personal interference. So, as Mr. H said, a vast mass 

of the slaves pass their hves, from the moment they are able to go 
afield in the picking season till they drop worn out into the grave, in 
incessant labor, in all sorts of weather, at all seasons of the year, with- 
out any other change or relaxation than is furnished by sickness, with- 
out the smallest hope of any improvement either in their condition, in 
their food, or in their clothing, which are of the plainest and coarsest 
kind, and indebted solely to the forbearance or good temper of the over- 
seer for exemption from terrible physical suffering. They are rung to 
bed at nine o'clock, almost immediately after bolting the food which 
they often have to cook after coming home from their day's labor, and 
are rung out of bed at four or five in the morning. The interval is one 
long round of toil. Life has no sunny spots for them. Tlieir only refuge 
or consolation in this world is in their own stupidity and gi-ossness. 
The nearer they are to the beast, the happier they are likely to be. 
Any mental or moral rise is nearly sure to bring unhappiness with it." 



62 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTEY. 



The same gentleman writes from Columbus : 

" One gets better glimpses of the real condition of the negroes from 
conversations one happens to overhear than from what is told to one's- 
self — above all, when one is known to be a stranger, and particularly 
an Englishman. The cool way in which you hear the hanging of nig- 
gers, the shooting of niggers, and the necessity for severe discipline 
among niggers talked of in bar-rooms, speaks volumes as to the exact 
state of the case. A negro was shot when running away, near Greens- 
boro', a small town on my road, the day before I passed through, by a 
man who had received instructions from the owner to take him alive, 
and shoot him if he resisted. I heard the subject discussed by some 
' loafers' in the bar, while getting my horse fed, and I found, to my 
no small — I do not know whether to say horror or amusement — that 
the point in dispute was not the degree of moral guilt incuri'ed by the 
murderer, but the degree of loss and damage for which he had rendered 
himself liable to the owner of the slave in departing from the letter of 
his commission. One of the group summed up the arguments on both 
sides, by exclaiming, ' Well, this shootin' of niggers should be put a 
stop to, that's a fact.' The obvious inference to be deduced from this 
observation was, that ' nigger shootin' ' was a slight contravention of 
police regulations — a little of which might be winked at, but which, in 
this locality, had been carried to such an extent as to call for the inter- 
ference of the law." 



At Jackson, Mississippi, the door of my room at the hotel, 
opened upon a gallery where, late at night, a number of servants 
had been conversing together in an animated manner. After 
some time, a white man joined them, and they immediately be- 
came quiet, reserved, and respectful. He was evidently a coarse, 
vulgar man, in a gossiping humor. Talking of a recent sale of 
negroes in town, led him to boast to these slaves of his own at- 
tractive qualities as a slaveowner. He had got, he said, a parcel 
of likely gals which he could sell any day for a great deal more'n 
they were worth to him. He had been on the pint of doing it 
several times, but he could n't, because they was of his own rais- 
in', and every time they heard he was talking of it, they 'd come 
and cry so they 'd make him change his mind. He expected ho 
was a kind of a soft-hearted man, and he could not part with 



THE TROPERTY ASPECT OF SLAVERY. 63 

them gals more'n he could with his own children. He always 
carried shootin'-irons with him, but he never yet shot a nigger — 
never shot a nigger. Some folks w^as mighty quick to shoot a 
nigger, but nary one of his niggers ever got shot, and he did n't 
expect they ever would — long as they behaved themselves. 

This was said and repeated in a tone which would indicate 
that he thought such moderation quite laudable, and that it would 
highly recommend him to the niggers whom he was then ad- 
dressing. They answered him in a manner which showed their 
sense of his condescension in thus talking to them, if not of his 
forbearance in the use of shootin'-irons. 

I do not think that I have ever seen the sudden death of a 
negro noticed in a southern newspaper, or heard it referred to in 
conversation, that the loss of property, rather than the extinction 
of life, was not the evident occasion of interest. The following 
paragraphs are examples coming first in a search therefor : 

" We are informed that a negro man, the property of Mr. William 
Mays of this city, was killed last Thursday by a youth, the son of Mr. 
AVilliam Payne, of Campbell county. The following are the circum- 
stances, as we have received them. Two sons of Mr. Payne were 
shooting pigeons on the plantation of Mr. Mays, about twenty miles 
from this place, and went to the tobacco-house, where the overseer 
and hands were housing tobacco ; one of the boys had a string of 
pigeons and the other had none. On reacliing the house, the negro 
who was killed asked the boy who had no pigeons, ' where his w^ere.' 
He replied that he killed none, but could kill him (the negro), and 
raised his gun and fired. The load took efiect in the head, and caused 
death in a few hours. The negro was a valuable one. Mr. Mays had 
refused $1,200 /or him." — Lynchburg Virginian. 

" A valuable negro boy, the property of W. A. Phipps, living in the 
upper end of this coimty, was accidentally drowned in the Holston 
river a few days ago." — Rogersville Times. 

'* Mr. Tilghman Cobb's barn at Bedford, Va., was set fire to by light- 
ning on Friday, the 11th, and consumed. Two nepfroes and three 
horses perished in the flames," — New Orleans Daily Crescent. 



64 A JOUllNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

I have repeated these accounts, not to convey to the reader's 
mind the impression that slaves are frequently shot by their mas- 
ters, which would be, no doubt, a mistaken inference, but to 
show in what manner I was made to feel, as I was very strongly 
in my journey, that what we call the sacredness of human life, 
together with a great range of kindred instincts, scarcely at- 
taches at all, with most white men, to the slaves, and also in 
order to justify the following observation ; — that I found the 
lives, and the comfort of negroes, in the great cotton-planting 
districts especially, habitually regarded, by all classes, much 
more from a purely pecuniary point of view, than I had ever 
before supposed they could be ; and yet, that, as property, negro 
life and negro vigor were generally much less carefully econo- 
mized than I had always before imagined them to be. 

As I became familiar with the circumstances, I saw reasons 
for this, which, in looking from a distance, or through the eyes 
of travelers, I had not been able adequately to appreciate. I 
will endeavor to explain : 

It is difficult to handle simply as property, a creature possess- 
ing human passions and human feelings, however debased and 
torpid the condition of that creature may be ; while, on the 
other hand, the absolute necessity of dealing with property, as 
a thing, greatly embarrasses a man in any attempt to treat it as 
a person. And it is the natural result of this complicated state 
of things, that the system, of slave-management, is irregular, am- 
biguous, and contradictory — that it is never either consistently 
humane or consistently economical. 

LARGE SLAVE ESTATES. 

As a general rule, the larger the body of negroes on a planta- 



THE PROPERTY ASPECT OF SLAVERY. 65 

tion or estate, the more completely are tliey treated as mere 
property, and in accordance with a policy calculated to insure 
the largest pecuniary returns. Hence, in part, the greater pro- 
portionate profit of such plantations, and the tendency which 
everywhere prevails in the planting districts to the absorption of 
small, and the augmentation of large estates. It may be true, that 
among the wealthier slaveowners, there is oftener a humane dis- 
position, a better judgment, and a greater ability to deal with 
their dependents indulgently and bountifully, but the eftects of 
this disposition are chiefly felt, even on those plantations where 
the proprietor resides permanently, among the slaves employed 
about the house and stables, and perhaps a few old favorites in 
the quarters. It is more than balanced by the difficulty of ac- 
quiring a personal interest in the units of a large body of slaves, 
and an acquaintance with the individual characteristics of each, 
The treatment of the mass must be reduced to a system, the rul- 
ing idea of which will be, to enable one man to force into the 
same channel of labor the muscles of a large number of men, of 
various, and often conflicting wills. 

The chief difficulty is to overcome their great aversion to la- 
bor. They have no objection to eating, drinking, and resting, 
when necessary, and no general disinclination to receive instruc- 
tion. If a man own many slaves, therefore, the faculty which he 
values highest, and pays most for, in an overseer, is that of mak- 
ing them work. Any fool could see that they were properly 
supplied with food, clothing, rest, and religious instruction. 

SLAVERY AS A MISSIONARY SYSTEM. 

In the county of Liberty, in Georgia, a Presbyterian minister 
has been for many years employed exclusively in laborino^ for the 



6rt A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTKY. 

moral enliglitenment of the slaves, being engaged and paid for 
tliis especial duty by their owners. From this circumstance, 
almost unparalleled as it is, it may be inferred that the planters 
of that county are, as a body, remarkably intelligent, liberal, and 
thoughtful for the moral welfare of the childlike wards Provi- 
dence has placed under their care and tutorship. According to 
my private information, there is no body of slaveowners more, if 
as much so, in the United States. I heard them spoken of even 
as far away as Virginia and Kentucky. I believe, that in no other 
district has there been displayed as general and long-continued 
an interest in the spiritual well-being of the negroes. It must be 
supposed that nowhere else are their circumstances more happy 
and favorable to Christian nurture.* 

After laboring thirteen years with a zeal and judgment which 
had made him famous, this apostle to the slaves of Liberty was 
called to the professorship of theology in the University of South 
Carolina. On retiring from his field of labor as a missionary, he 
addressed a valedictory sermon to his patrons, wdiich has been 



* In White's Statistics of Georgia (page 311), the citizens of Liberty 
county are characterized as " unsurpassed for the great attention paid to the 
duties of religion." — Dr. Stevens, in his History of Georgia, describes them 
as " worthy of their sires," who were "the moral and intellectual nobility of 
the province," ''whose accession was an honor to Georgia, and has ever 
proved one of its richesi blessings." — In the biography of General Scrivens, 
the county of Liberty is designated "proud spot of Georgia's soil!" — Dr. J. 
M. B. Harden, in a medical report of the county, says, " the use of intoxicat- 
ing drinks has been almost entirely given up" by its people. — White sayf? 
(Statistics, 373), "the people of Liberty, from their earliest settlement, have 
paid much attention to the subject of education. Excellent schools are found 
in different portions of the county, and it is believed a greater number of 
young men from Liberty graduate at our colleges than from any [other] sec- 
tion of Georgia. Indeed, it has been proverbial for fiirnishing able ministers 
and instructors." 



THE PKOPEKTY ASPECT OP SLAVERY. 67 

published. While there is no unbecoming despondency or ab- 
sence of proper gratitude for such results as have rewarded his 
protracted labor, visible in this document, the summing up is not 
such as would dr^aw unusual cheers if given in the report of an 
African missionary at the Tabernacle or Exeter Hall. "Without 
a word on which the most vigilant suspicion could rest a doubt 
of his entire loyalty to the uttermost rights of property which 
might be claimed by those whom he addressed, he could not 
avoid indicating, in the following passages, what he had been 
obliged to see to be the insurmountable difficulty in the way of 
any vital elevation of character among those to whom he had 
been especially charged to preach the gospel wherew^ith Christ 
blessed mankind : 

" Tiiey are [his pastoral charge], in the language of Scripture, ' your 
money. ^ They are the source, the means of your wealth ; by their la- 
bor do you obtain the necessaries, the conveniences, and comforts of life. 
The increase of them is the general standard of your worldly prosper- 
ity : without them, you would be comparatively poor. They are con- 
sequently sought after and desired as property^ and lohen possessed, must 
he so taken care of and managed as to he made profitahle. 

'■'■ Now, it is exceedingly diflicult to use them as money ; to treat 
them as property, and at the same time render to them that which is 
just and equal as immortal and accountable beings, and as heirs of the 
grace of life, equally with ourselves. They are associated in our busi- 
ness, and thoughts, and feelings, with labor, and interest, and gain, and 
w^ealth. Under the influence of the powerful feeling of self-interest, 
there is a tendency to view and to treat them as instruments of labor, 
as a means of wealth, and to forget, or pass over lightly, the fact that 
they are what they are, under tlie eye and government of God. There 
is a tendency to rest satisfied with very small and miserable efibrts for 
their moral improvement, and to give one's self but little trouble to 
correct immoralities and reform wicked practices and habits, should 
they do their work quietly and profitably, and enjoy health, and go on 
to multiply and iucrease upon the earth." 

Tliis is addressed to a body of " professing evangelical Chris- 
tians," in a district in which more is done for the elevation of the 
slaves than in anv other of the South. What they are called 



68 A JOUBNEY IN THE BACK COUNTKY. 

to witness from their own experience, as the tendency of a system 
which recognizes shives as absohite property, mere instruments 
of labor and means of wealth, " exceedingly difficult" for them to 
resist, is the entirely irresistible effect upon the mass of slavehold- 
ers. Fearing that moral and intellectual culture may injure their 
value as property, they oftener interfere to prevent than they 
endeavor to assist their slaves from using the poor opportunities 
that chance may throw in their way. 
Moreover, the missionary adds : 

" The current of the conversation and of business in society, in re- 
spect to negroes, runs in the channel of interest, and thus increases the 
blindness and insensibility of owners, * * * ^^^j^ i\-^{^ custom of 
society acts also on the negroes, who, seeing, and more than seeing, 
feeling and knowing^ that their owners regard and treat them as their 
money — as property only — are inclined to lose sight of their better 
character and higher interests, and, in their ignorance and depravity, 
to estimate themselves, and religion, and virtue, no higher than their 
owners do." 

Again, from tlie paramount interest of owners in the property 
quality of these beings, they provide them only such accommoda- 
tions for spending the time in which they are not actively employ- 
ed, as shall be favorable to their bodily health, and enable them to 
comply with the commandment, to " increase and multiply upon 
the earth," without regard to their moral health, without carinn^ 
much for their obedience to the more pure and spiritual com- 
mands of the Scriptures. 

" The consequent mingling up of husbands and waives, children and 
youths, banishes the privacy and modesty essential to domestic peace 
and purity, and opens wide the door to dishonesty, oppression, vio- 
lence, and profligacy. The owner may see, or hear, or know little of 
it. His servants may appear cheerful, and go on in their usual way, 
and enjoy health and do his will, yet their actual moral state may be 
miserable. * * * If family relations are not preserved and pro- 
tected^ ive can not loohfor any considerable degree of moral and religious 
improvement.^' 



Tllli niOPEUTY ASPECT OF SLAVERY. 69 

It must be acknowledged of slavery, as a system, not only in 
Liberty county, but as tliat system finds the expression of the 
theory on which it is based in the laws of every southern State, 
that family relations are not preserved and protected under it. 
As we should therefore expect, the missionary finds that 

" One of the chief causes of the immorality of negroes arises from 
the indifference both of themselves and of their owners to their family 
relations." 

Large planters generally do not allow their negroes to marry 
off" the plantation to which they belong, conceiving " that their 
own convenience and interest, and," says the missionary, '' the 
comfort and real happiness of their people" are thereby pro- 
moted. Upon this point, however, it is but just to quote the 
views of the editor of the Southern Agriculturist^ who, in urging 
planters to adopt and strictly maintain such a regulation, says : 
" If a master has a servant, and no suitable one of the other sex 
for a companion, he had better give an exti-a price for such an 
one as his would be willing to marry, than to have one man own- 
ing the husband, and the other the wife." 

But this mode of arranging the difficulty seems not to have 
occurred to the Liberty county missionary ; and while arguing 
against the course usually pursued, he puts the following, as a 
pertinent suggestion : 

" Admitting that they are people having their preferences as well as 
others, and there he a supply^ can that love which is the foundation and 
(essence of the marriage state, be forced ?" 

Touching honesty and thrift among the negroes, he says : 

" While some discipline their people for every act of theft committed 
acrainst their interests, they have no care whatever what amount of 
pilferin.2^ and stealinj^^ the people carry on among themselves. Hence, in 
some places, thieves thrive and honest men suffer, until it becomes a prac- 



To A JOUliNEY IN THE BACK COUNTKY. 

tice ' to keep if you can wliat is your own, and get all you can besides 
that is your neighbor's.' Things come to such a pass, that the saying 
of the negroes is hterally true, ' The people live upon one another.' " 

Referring to the evil of intemperance, it is observed : 

" Whatever toleration masters use toward ardent spu-its in others, 
they are generally inclined to use none in respect to their servants ; 
and in effecting this reformation, masters and mistresses should set the 
example ; for without example, precepts and persuasions are power- 
less. Nor can force effect this reformation as surely and perfectly as 
persuasion — appealing to the character and happiness of the servant 
himself, the appeal recognizes him in such a manner as to produce 
self-respect, and it tends to give elevation of conduct and character. 
I will not dwell upon this point." 

He will not dwell on this point ; yet, is it not evident that un- 
til this point can be dwelt upon, all effort for the genuine Chris- 
tianization of the negro race in the South must be puerile ? 



SLAVERY AS AN EDUCATIVE SYSTEM. 

" The mental faculties will be most developed where they are most 
exercised, and what gives them more exercise than the having a mul- 
titude of interests, none of which can be neglected, and which can be 
provided for only by varied efforts of the will and intelligence ? * * * 

" It is precisely these cares and anxieties which tend to make the in- 
dependent proprietor a superior being to an English day-laborer. * * * 

" If there is a first principle in intellectual education, it is this, that the 
discipline which does good to the mind is that in which the mind is 
active, not that in which it is passive." — Principles of Political JEcon- 
omy, by J. Stuart Mill 

The benefit to the African which is supposed to be incidental 
to American slavery, is confessedly proportionate to the degree 
in which he is forced into intercourse with a superior race and 
made subject to its example. Before I visited the South, I 
liad believed that the advantages accruing from slavery, in this 
way, far outweighed the occasional cruelties, and other evils in- 
cidental to the system. I found, however, the mental and moral 
condition of the negroes, even in Virginia, and in those towns 



THE PROPERTY ASPECT OF SLAVERY. 71 

and districts containing the largest proportion of whites, much 
lower than I had anticipated, and as soon as I had an opportu- 
nity to examine one of the extensive plantations of the interior, 
although one inherited by its owner, and the home of a large 
and virtuous white family, I was satisfied that the advantages 
arising to the blacks from association with their white masters 
were verj^ trifling, scarcely appreciable indeed, for the great major- 
ity of the field-hands. Even the overseer had barely acquaintance 
enough with the slaves individually, to call them by name ; the 
owner could not determine with confidence if he were addressing 
one of his own chattels, by its features. Much less did the slaves 
have "an opportunity to cultivate their minds by intercourse with 
other white people. Whatever of civilization, and of the forms, 
customs and shibboleths of Christianity they were acquiring by 
example, and through police restraints might, it occurred to me, 
after all, but poorly compensate the efi"ect of the systematic w^ith- 
drawal from them of all the usual influences which tend to nour- 
ish the moral nature and develop the intellectual faculties, in sav- 
ages as well as in civilized free men. 

This doubt, as my northern friends well know, for I had habit- 
ually assumed the opposite, in all previous discussions of the slav- 
ery question, was unexpected and painful to me. I resisted it 
long, and it was tiot till I had been more than twelve months in 
the South with my attention constantly fixed upon the point that 
I ceased to suspect that the circumstances which brought me to 
it were exceptional and deceptive. It grew constantly stronger 
with every opportunity I had of observing the condition, habits 
and character of slaves whom I could believe to present fair ex- 
amples of the working of the system with the majority of those 
sul)j(>ct to it upon the large plantations. 



72 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

The laborers we see in towns, at work on railroads and steam- 
boats, about stations and landings ; the menials of our houses 
and hotels, are less respectable, moral and intelligent than the 
great majority of the whole laboring class of the North. The 
traveler at the South has to learn that there the reverse is the 
case to a degree which can hardly be sufficiently estimated. I 
have been obliged to think that many amiable travelers who have 
received impressions with regard to the condition of the slaves 
very different from mine, have ftiiled to make a sufficient allow- 
ance for this. The rank-and-file plantation negroes are not to 
be readily made acquaintance with by chance or through letters 
of introduction. 

SLAVE MANAGEMENT ON THE LARGEST SCALE. 

The estate I am now about to describe, was situated upon a 
tributary of the Mississippi, and accessible only by occasional 
steamboats ; even this mode of communication being frequently 
interrupted at low stages of the rivers. The slaves upon it 
formed about one twentieth of the whole population of the coun- 
ty, in which the blacks considerably out-number the whites. At 
the time of my visit, the owner was sojourning upon it, with his 
family and several invited guests, but his usual residence was 
upon a small plantation, of little productive value, situated in a 
neighborhood somewhat noted for the luxury and hospitality of 
its citizens, and having a daily mail, and direct railroad and tel- 
egraphic communication with New York. This was, if I am not 
mistaken, his second visit in five years. 

The property consisted of four adjoining plantations, each with 
its own negro-cabins, stables and overseer, and each worked to a 
great extent independently of the others, but all contributing 



THE PROPERTY ASPECT OF SLAVERY. 73 

tlieir crop to one gin-honse and warehouse, and all under tlie gen- 
eral superintendence of a bailiff or manager, who constantly re- 
sided upon the estate, and in the absence of the owner, had vice- 
regal power over the overseers, controlling, so far as he thought 
fit, the economy of all the plantations. 

The manager was himself a gentleman of good education, gen- 
erous and poetic in temperament, and possessing a capacity for the 
enjoyment of nature and a happiness in the bucolic life, unfortun- 
ately rare with Americans. I found him a delightful companion, 
and I have known no man with whose natural tastes and feeliuQ-s I 
have felt, on so short acquaintance, a more hearty sympathy. The 
gang of toiling negroes to him, however, was as essential an ele- 
ment of the poetry of nature as flocks of peaceful sheep and 
herds of lowing kine, and he would no more appreciate the as- 
pect in which an Abolitionist would see them than would Virgil 
have honored the feelings of a vegetarian, who could only sigh 
at the sight of flocks and herds destined to feed the depraved ap- 
petite of the carnivorous savage of modern civilization. The 
overseers were superior to most of their class, and, with one ex- 
ception, frank, honest, temperate and industrious, but their feel- 
ings toward negroes were such as naturally result from their oc- 
cupation. They were all married, and lived with their families, 
each in a cabin or cottasfe, in the hamlet of the slaves of which 
he had especial charge. Their wages varied from $500 to $1,000 
a year each. 

These five men, each living more than a mile distant from 
either of the others, were the only white men on the estate, and 
the only others within several miles of them were a few skulking 
vagabonds. Of course, to secure their own personal safety and 
to efficiently direct the labor of such a large number of ignorant 



74 A JOUENEY IN THE BACK COUNTEY. 

indolent, and vicious negroes, rules, or ratlier habits and customs, 
of discipline, were necessary, whicli would in particular cases be 
liable to operate unjustly and cruelly. It is apparent, also, that, 
as the testimony of negroes against them would not be received 
as evidence in court, that there was very little probability that 
any excessive severity would be restrained by fear of the law. A 
provision of the law intended to secure a certain privilege to 
slaves, was indeed disregarded under my own observation, and 
such infraction of the law was confessedly customary with one 
of the overseers, and was permitted by the manager, for the rea- 
son that it seemed to him to be, in a certain degree, justifiable 
and expedient under the circumstances, and because he did not 
like to interfere unnecessarily in such matters. 

In the main, the negroes appeared to be well taken care of and 
abundantly supplied with the necessaries of vigorous physical ex- 
istence. A large part of them lived in commodious and well- 
built cottages, with broad galleries in front, so that each family 
of five had two rooms on the lower floor, and a loft. The re- 
mainder lived in log-huts, small and mean in appearance, but 
those of their overseers were little better, and preparations were 
being made to replace all of these by neat boarded cottages. 
Each family had a fowl-house and hog-sty (constructed by the 
negroes themselves), and kept fowls and swine, feeding the latter 
during the summer on weeds and fattening them in the autumn 
on corn stolen (this was mentioned to me by the overseers as if 
it were a matter of course) from their master's corn-fields. I 
several times saw gangs of them eating the dinner which they 
had brought, each for himself, to the field, and observed that they 
generally had plenty, often more than they could eat, of bacon, 
corn-bread, and molasses. The allowance of food is weighed 



THE PROPERTY ASPECT OF SLAVERY. YS 

and measured under the eye of the manager by the drivers, and 
distributed to the head of each family weekly : consisting of — 
for each person, 3 pounds of pork, 1 peck of meal ; and from Jan- 
uary to July, 1 quart of molasses. Monthly, in addition, 1 pound 
tobacco, and 4 pints salt. No drink is ever served but water, 
except after unusual exposure, or to ditchers working in water, 
who get a glass of whisky at night. All hands cook for them- 
selves after work at night, or whenever they please between 
night-fall and daybreak, each family in its own cabin. Each 
family had a garden, the products of which, together with eggs, 
fowls and bacon, they frequently sold, or used in addition to their 
regular allowance of food. Most of the families bought a barrel 
of flour every year. The manager endeavored to encourage this 
practice, and that they might spend their money for flour instead 
of liquor, he furnished it to them at rather less than wdiat it cost 
him at wholesale. There were many poor whites within a few 
miles who would always sell liquor to the negroes, and encourage 
them to steal, to obtain the means to buy it of them. These 
poor whites were always spoken of with anger by the overseers, 
and they each had a standing ofl"er of much more than the in- 
trinsic value of their land, from the manager, to induce them to 
move away. 

The negroes also obtain a good deal of game. They set 
traps for raccoons, rabbits and turkeys, and I once heard the 
stock-tender complaining that he had detected one of the vaga- 
bond whites stealing a turkey which had been caught in his pen. 
I several times partook of game while on the plantation, that 
had been purchased of the negroes. The stock-tender, an old 
negro, whose business it was to ride about in the woods and keep 

an eye on the stock cattle that were pastured in them, and who 

4* 



VO A JOURNEY IN" THE BACK COUNTRY. 

was tlius likely to know where the deer ran, had an ingenious 
way of supplying himself with venison. lie lashed a scythe 
blade or butcher's knife to the end of a pole so that it formed a 
lance ; this he set near a fence or fallen tree which obstructed a 
path in which the deer habitually ran, and the deer in leaping 
over the obstacle would leap directly on the knife. In this man- 
ner he had killed two deer the week before my visit. 

The manager sent to him for some of this venison for his own 
use, and justified himself to me for not paying for it on the ground 
that the stock-tender had undoubtedly taken time which really 
belonged to his owner to set his spear. Game taken by the 
field-hands was not looked upon in the same light, because it 
must have been got at night when they were excused from labor 
for their owner. 

The first morning I was on the estate, while at breakfast with 
the manager, an old negro woman came into the room and said 
to him, " Dat o-al's bin bleedin' aajin dis mornin'." 

" How much did she bleed ?" 

" About a pint, sir." 

" Very well ; I'll call and see her after breakfast." 

" I come up for some sugar of lead, master ; I gin her some 
powdered alum 'fore I come away." 

" Very well ; you can have some." 

After breakfast the manager invited me to ride with him on 
liis usual daily round of inspection through the plantations. 

PLANTATION WORK-HOUSE. 

On reaching the nearest " quarters," we stopped at a house, a 
little larger than the ordinary cabins, which was called the 
loom-house, in which a dozen negroes were at work making 



THE PROPERTY ASPECT OF SLAVERY. 77 

shoes, and manufacturing coarse cotton stuff for negro clothing. 
One of the hands so employed was insane, and most of the oth- 
ers were cripples, invalids with chronic complaints, or unfitted by 
age, or some infirmity, for field-work. 

MEDICAL SURVEY. 

From this we went to one of the cabins, where we found the 
sick woman who had been bleedincc at the lunojs, with the old 
nurse in attendance upon her. The manager examined and pre- 
scribed for her in a kind manner. When we came out he asked 
the nurse if any one else was sick. 

" Oney dat woman Carline." 

"What do you think is the matter with her?" 

" Well, I do n't tink dere 's anyting de matter wid her, mas- 
ser; I mus' answer you for true, I don't tink anyting de 
matter wid her, oney she 's a little sore from dat whippin' she 
got." 

We went to another cabin and entered a room where a wo- 
man lay on a bed, groaning. It was a very dingy, comfortless 
room, but a musquito bar, much patched and very dirty, covered 
the bed. The manager asked the woman several times what was 
the matter, but could get no distinct reply. She appeared to be 
suffering great pain. The manager felt her pulse and looked at 
her tongue, and after making a few more inquiries, to which no 
intelligible reply was given, told her he did not believe she was 
ill at all. At this the woman's groans redoubled. "I have 
heard of your tricks," continued the manager ; " you had a chill 
when I came to see you yesterday morning ; you had a chill 
when the mistress came here, and you had a chill when the mas- 
ter came. I never knew a chill to last the whole day. So 



78 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

you'll just get up now and go to the field, and if you don't work 
smart, you '11 get a dressing ; do you hear ?" 

We tlien left. The manager said tliat lie rarely — almost never 
— ^had occasion to employ a physician for the people. Never for 
accouchements ; the women, from their labor in the field, were 
not subject to the difficulty, danger, and pain which attended 
women of the better classes in giving birth to their offspring. 

Near the first quarters we visited there was a large black- 
smith's and wheelwright's shop, in which a number of mechanics 
were at work. Most of them, as we rode up, were eating their 
breakfast, which they warmed at their fires. Within and around 
the shop there were some fifty plows which they were putting in 
order. The manager inspected the work, found some of it 
faulty, sharply reprimanded the workmen for not getting on 
faster, and threatened one of them with a whipping for not pay- 
ing closer attention to the directions which had been given him. 
He told me that he once employed a white man from the North, 
v/ho professed to be a first-class workman, but he soon found he 
could not do nearly as good work'as the negro mechanics on the 
estate, and the latter despised him so much, and got such high 
opinions of themselves in consequence of his inferiority, that he 
had been obliged to discharge him in the midst of his engagement. 

The overseer of this plantation rode up while we were at the 
shop, and reported to the manager how all his hands were em- 
ployed. There were so many at this and so many at that, and 
they had done so much since yesterday. " There 's that girl, 
Caroline," said the manager ; "she's not sick, and I told her she 
must go to work ; put her to the hoeing; there's nothing the 
matter with her, except she's sore with the whipping she got. 
You must go and get her out." A woman was passing at the 



THE PEOPERTT ASPECT OF SLAVERY. 79 

time, and the manager told her to go and tell Caroline she must 
get up and go to work, or the ovbrseer would come and start 
her. She returned in a few minutes, and reported that Caroline 
said she could not get up. The overseer and manager rode to- 
ward the cabin, but before they reached it, the girl, who had 
probably been watching us from the window, came out and went 
to the field with her hoe. They then returned to me and con- 
tinued their conversation. Just before we left the overseer, he 
said, " I think that girl who ran away last week was in her cabin 
last night." The riianager told me, as we rode on, that the peo- 
ple often ran away after they have been whipped, or something 
else had happened to make them angry.- They hide in the 
swamp, and come in to the cabins at night to get food. They 
seldom remain away more than a fortnight, and when they come 
in they are whipped. The woman, Caroline, he said, had been 
delivered of a dead child about six weeks before, and had been 
complaining and getting rid of work ever since. She was the 
laziest woman on the estate. This shamming illness gave him 
the most disagreeable duty he had to perform. Negroes were 
famous for it. " If it was not for her bad character," he con- 
tinued, " I should fear to make her go to work to-day ; but her 
pulse is steady, and her tongue perfectly smooth. We have to 
he sharp with them ; if toe were not, every negro mi the estate 
luould he ahedP 

CLOTHES AND CLEANLINESS. 

We rode on to where the diflferent gangs of laborers were at 
work, and inspected them one after another. I observed, as we 
were looking at one of the gangs, that they were very dirty. 
" Negroes are the filthiest people in the world," .said the man- 



80 



A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTKY. 



ager ; " there are some of them who would not keep clean 
twenty-four hours at a time if you gave them thirty suits a 
year." I asked him if there were any rules to maintain cleanli- 
ness. There were not, but sometimes the negroes were told at 
night that any one who came into the field the next morning 
without being clean would be whipped. This gave no trouble 
to those who were habitually clean, while it was in itself a pun- 
ishment to those who were not, as they were obliged to spend 
the night in washing. 

They were furnished with two suits of summer, and one of 
winter clothing each year. Besides which, most of them got 
presents of some holiday finery (calico dresses, handkerchiefs, 
etc.), and purchased more for themselves, at Christmas. One of 
the drivers now in the field had on a splendid uniform coat of an 
officer of the flying artillery. After the Mexican war, a great 
deal of military clothing was sold at auction in New Orleans, and 
much of it was bought by planters at a low price, and given to 
their negroes, who were greatly pleased with it. 

HOURS OF LABOR. 

^ Each overseer regulated the hours of work on his own planta- 
tion. I saw the negroes at work before sunrise and after sunset. 
At about eight o'clock they were allowed to stop for breakfast, 
and again about noon, to dine. The length of these rests was at 
the discretion of the overseer or drivers, usually, I should say, 
from half an hour to an hour. There was no rule. 

OVERSEERS. 

The number of hands directed by each overseer was consider- 
ably over one hundred. The manager thought it would be bet- 



THE PROPERTY ASPECT OF SLAVERY. 81 

ter economy to have a wliite man over every fifty hands, hut the 
difficulty of ohtaining trustworthy overseers prevented it. Three 
of those he then had were the best he had ever known. He 
described the great majority as being passionate, careless, ineffi- 
cient men, generally intemperate, and totally unfitted for the 
duties of the position. The best overseers, ordinarily, are young 
men, the sons of small planters, who take up the business tem- 
porarily, as a means of acquiring a little capital with which to 
purchase negroes for themselves. 

PLOW-GIRLS. 

The plowing, both with single and double mule teams, was 
generally performed by women, and very well performed, too, I 
watched with some interest for any indication that their sex un- 
fitted them for the occupation. Twenty of them were plowing 
together, with double teams and heavy plows. They were su- 
perintended by a male negro driver, who carried a whip, which 
he frequently cracked at them, permitting no dawdling or delay 
at the turning ; and they twitched their plows around on the 
head-land, jerking their reins, and yelling to their mules, with 
apparent ease, energy, and rapidity. Throughout the South- 
west the negroes, as a rule, appear to be Avorked much harder 
than in the eastern and northern slave States. I do not think 
they accomplish as much daily, as agricultural laborers at the 
North usually do, but they certainly labor much harder, and 
more unremittingly. Tiiey are constantly and steadily driven 
up to their work, and the stupid, plodding, macliine-like manner 
in which they labor, is painful to witness. This was especially 
the case with the hoe-gangs. One of them numbered nearly 
two hundred hands (for the force of two plantations was work- 



82 A JOUENEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

ing together), moving across tlie field in parallel lines, witli 
a considerable degree of precision. I repeatedly rode through 
the lines at a canter, with other horsemen, often coming upon 
them suddenly, without producing the smallest change or inter- 
ruption in the dogged action of the laborers, or causing one of 
them to lift an eye from the ground. A very tall and powerful 
negro walked to and fro in the rear of the line, frequently crack- 
ing his whip, and calling out, in the surliest manner, to one and 
another, " Shove your hoe, there ! shove your hoe !" But I 
never saw him strike any one with the whip. 

DISCIPLINE, 

The whip was evidently in constant use, however. There 
were no rules on the subject, that I learned ; the overseers and 
drivers punished the negroes whenever they deemed it necessary, 
and in such manner, and with such severity, as they thought fit. 
" If you do n't work faster," or " If you do n't work better," or 
" If you do n't recollect what I tell you, I will have you flogged," 
are threats which I have often heard. I said to one of the over- 
seers, " It must be very disagreeable to have to punish them as 
much as you do ?" " Yes, it would be to those who are not used 
to it — but it's my business, and I think nothing of it. Why, sir, 
I would n't mind killing a nigger more than I would a dog." 
I asked if he had ever killed a negro ? " Not quite,'' he said, but 
overseers were often obliged to. Some negroes are determined 
never to let a white man whip them, and will resist yon, when 
you attempt it ; of course you must kill them in that case. 
Once a negro, whom he was about to whip in the field, struck at 
his head with a hoe. lie parried the blow with his whip, and 
drawing a pistol tried to shoot him, but the pistol missing fire he 



THE TKOPERTY ASPECT OP SLAVERY. 83 

rushed in and knocked him down with the butt of it. At another 
time a negro whom he was punishing, insulted and threatened 
him. He went to the house for his gun, and as he was return- 
ing, the negro, thinking he would be afraid of spoiling so valua- 
ble a piece of property by firing, broke for the woods. lie fired 
at once, and put six buck-shot into his hips. He always carried 
a bowie-knife, but not a pistol, unless he anticipated some un- 
usual act of insubordination."^ He always kept a pair of pistols 
ready loaded over the mantel-piece, however, in case they should 
be needed. It was only when he first came upon a plantation 
that he ever had much trouble. A great many overseers were 
unfit for their business, and too easy and slack with the negroes. 
When he succeeded such a man, he had hard work for a time to 
break the negroes in, but it did not take long to teach them their 
place. His conversation on this subject was exactly like what I 
have heard said, again and again, by northern shipmasters and 
officers, with regar4 to seamen. 

PUNISHMENT. 

The severest corporeal punishment of a neorro that I witnessed 
at the South, occurred while I was visiting this estate. I sup- 
pose however, that punishment equally severe is common — in 
fact, it must be necessary to the maintenance of adequate disci- 

* " On Monday last, as James Allen (overseer on Prothro's plantation at 
St. Maurice), was punishing a negro boy named Jack, for stealing bogs, the 
boy ran off before the overseer had chastised him sufficiently for the oft'onse. 
He was immediately pursued by the overseer, who succeeded in catching 
him, when the negro drew a l<nife and inflicted a terrible gash in his abdo- 
men. The wounds of the overseer were dressed by Dr. Stephens, who pro- 
nounces it a very critical case, but still entertains hope of his recovery." — 
Nachitoches Chronicle. 



84 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

pline on every large plantation. Itismnch more necessary than 
on shipboard, because the opportunities of hiding away and 
shirking labor, and of wasting and injuring the owner's proper- 
ty without danger to themselves, are far greater in the case of 
the slaves than in that of the sailors, but above all, because there 
is no real moral obligation on the part of the negro to do what is 
demanded of him. The sailor performs his duty in obedience to 
a voluntary contract ; the slave is in an involuntary servitude. 
The manner of the overseer who inflicted the punishment, and 
his subsequent conversation with me about it, indicated that it 
was by no means an unusual occurrence with him. I had acci- 
dentally encountered him, and he was showing me his plantation. 
In going from one side of it to the other, we had twice crossed 
a deep gully, at the bottom of which was a thick covert of brush- 
wood. We were crossing it a third time, and had nearly passed 
through the brush, when the overseer suddenly stopped his horse 
exclaiming, " What's that ? Hallo ! who are you there ?" 

It was a girl lying at full length on the ground at the bottom 
of the gully, evidently intending to hide herself from us in the 
bushes. 

" Who are you there ?" 

" Sam's Sail, sir." 

" What are you skulking there for ?" 

The girl half rose, but gave no answer. 

" Have you been here all day ?" 

" No sir." 

" How did you get here ?" 

The girl made no reply. 

" Where have you been all day ?" 

The answer was unintelliojible. 



THE PROrERTY ASPECT OP SLAVERY. 85 

After soiiic furtlier questioning, she said lier father accident- 
ally locked her in, when he went out in the morning. 

" How did you manage to get out ?" 

" Pushed a plank oft', sir, and crawled out." 

The overseer was silent for a moment, looking at the girl, and 
then said, " That won't do — come out here." The girl arose at 
once, and walked towards him ^ she was about eighteen years of 
age. A bunch of keys hung at her waist, which the overseer 
espied, and he said, " Ah, your father locked you in ; but you 
have got the keys." After a little hesitation, the girl replied 
that these were the keys of some other locks ; her father had the 
door-key. 

Whether her story were true or false, could have been ascer- 
tained in two minutes by riding on to the gang with which her 
father was at work, but the overseer had made up his mind as to 
the facts of the case. 

"That won't do," said he, "get down on your knees." The 
girl knelt on the ground ; he got off his horse, and holding him 
with his left liand, struck her thirty or forty blows across the 
shoulders with his tough, flexible, " raw-hide" whip. They were 
well laid on, as a boatswain would thrash a skulking sailor, or as 
some people flog a baulking horse, but with no appearance of 
angry excitement on the part of the overseer. At every stroke 
the girl Avinced, and exclaimed, " Yes, sir !" or " Ah, sir !" or 
" Please, sir !" not groaning or screaming. At length he stopped 
and said, " Now tell me the truth." The girl repeated tlie same 
story. "You have not got enough yet," said he, "pull up your 
clothes — lie down." The girl without any hesitation, without a 
word or look of remonstrance or entreat}^, drew closely all her 
garments under her shoulders, and lay down upon the ground 



86 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

with her face toward the overseer, who continued to flog her 
with the rawhide, across her naked loins and thigh, with as 
much strength as before. She now shrunk away from him, not 
rising, but writhing, groveling, and screaming, " Oh, do n't, sir ! 
oh, please stop, master ! please, sir ! please, sir ! oh, that's 
enough, master ! oh, Lord ! oh, master, master ! oh, God, master, 
do stop I oh, God, master ! oh, God, master !" 

A young gentleman of fifteen was with us ; he had ridden in 
front, and now, turning on his horse looked back with an expres- 
sion only of impatience at the delay. It was the first time I had 
ever seen a woman flogged. I had seen a man cudgeled and 
beaten, in the heat of passion, before, but never flogged with a 
hundredth part of the severity used in this case. I glanced 
again at the perfectly passionless but rather grim business-like 
face of the overseer, and again at the young gentleman, who had 
turned away ; if not indifl'erent he had evidently not the faintest 
sympathy with my emotion. Only my horse chafed with excite- 
ment. I gave him rein and spur and we plunged into the bushes 
and scrambled fiercely up the steep acclivity. The screaming 
yells and the whip strokes had ceased when I reached the top of 
the bank. Choking, sobbing, spasmodic groans only were heard. 
I rode on to where the road coming diagonally up the ravine ran 
out upon the cotton-field. My young companion met me there, 
and immediately afterward the overseer. He laughed as he 
joined us, and said, 

" She meant to cheat me out of a day's work — and she has 
done it, too." 

" Did you succeed in getting another story from her ?" 

" No ; she stuck to it." 

" Was it not perhaps true ?" 



THE rROPERTY ASPECT OF SLAVERY. 87 

" Oh 110, sir, she slipped out of the gang when they were 
going to work, and she's been dodging about all day, going from 
one place to another as she saw me coming. She saw us cross- 
ing there a little while ago, and thought we had gone to the 
quarters, but we turned back so quick, we came into the gully 
before she knew it, and she could do nothing but lie down in the 
bushes." 

" I suppose they often slip off so." 

" No, sir ; I never had one do so before — not like this ; they 
often run away to the woods and are gone some time, but I never 
liad a dodge-off like this before." 

" Was it necessary to punish her so severely ?" 

" Oh yes, sir," (laughing again.) " If I had n't punished her so 
hard she would have done the same thino- ao^ain to-morrow, and 
half the people on the plantation would have followed her example. 
Oh, you've no idea how hazy these niggers are ; you northern 
people do n't know any thing about it. They'd never do any 
work at all if they were not afraid of being whipped." 

We soon afterward met an old man, who, on being closely 
questioned, said that he had seen the girl leave the gang as they 
went to work after dinner. It appeared that she had been at 
work durinof the forenoon, but at dinner-time the o-ano- was moved 
and as it passed through the gully she slipped out. The driver 
had not missed her. The overseer said that when he first took 
charge of this plantation, the negroes ran away a great deal — 
they disliked him so much. They used to say 't was hell to be 
on his place ; but after a few months they got used to his ways, 
and liked him better than any of the rest. He had not had any 
run away now in some time. When they ran away they would 
generally return within a fortniijht. If many of them went off, 



88 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

or if they staid out long, lie would make the rest of the force 
work Sundays, or deprive them of some of their usual privileges 
until they returned. The negroes on the plantation could always 
bring them in if they chose to. They depended on them for 
their food, and they had only to stop the supplies to oblige them 
to surrender. 

NAMES. 

Afterward, as I was sitting near a gang with an overseer and 
the manager, the former would occasionally call out to one and 
another by name, in directing or urging their labor. I asked if 
he knew them all by name. He did, but the manager did not 
know one fifth of them. The overseer said he generally could 
call most of the negroes on a plantation by their names in two 
weeks after he came to it, but- it was rather difficult to learn 
them on account of there being so many of the same name, dis- 
tinguished from each other by a prefix. " There's a Big Jim 
here, and a Little Jim, and Eliza's Jim, and there's Jim Bob, 
and Jim Clarisy." 

" What's Jim Clarisy ? — how does he get that name ?" 

" He's Clarisy's child, and Bob is Jim Bob's father. That fel- 
low ahead there, with the blue rag on his head, his name is 
Swamp ; he always goes by that name, but his real name is 
Abraham, I believe ; is it not, Mr. [Manager] ?" 

" His name is Swamp on the plantation register — that 's all I 
know of him." 

" I believe his name is Abraham," said the overseer ; " he told 

me so. He was bought of Judge , he says, and he told me 

his master called him Swamp because he ran away so much. 
He is the worst runaway on the place." 



TUE PEOPERTY ASPECT OF SLAVERY. 89 

MORAL EDUCATIOX OF THE NEGROES. 

I inquired about the increase of the negroes on the estate, and 
the manager having told me the number of deaths and births 
the previous year, which gave a net increase of four per cent. — 
on Virginia estates it is often twenty per cent — I asked if the 
negroes began to have children at a very early age. " Some- 
times at sixteen," said the manager. "Yes, and at fourteen," 
said the overseer ; " that girl 's had a child" — pointing to a girl 
that did not appear older than fourteen. " Is she married ?" 
" No." " You see," said the manager, " negro girls are not re- 
markable for chastity; their habits indeed rather hinder them 
from having children. They'd have them younger than they do, 
if they would marry or live with but one man, sooner than they 
do.* They often do not have children till they are twenty-five 
years old." "Are those who are married true to each other?" 
I asked. The overseer laughed heartily at the idea, and de- 
scribed a disgustingly " Free Love" state of things. " Do you not 
try to discourage this ?" " No, not unless they quarrel." " They 
get jealous and quarrel among themselves sometimes about it," 
the manager explained, " or come to the overseer and complain, 
and he has them punished." " Give all hands a damned good 
hiding," said the overseer. " You punish for adultery, then, but 
not for fornication ?" " Yes," answered the manager, but " No," 
replied the overseer, " we punish them for quarreling; if they 
do n't quarrel I do n't mind any thing about it, but if it makes a 
muss, I give all four of 'em a warming." 

* Mr, RuSv^ell makes an observation to the same effect with regard to the 
Cuba plantations, p. 230. 



00 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

BLACK, WHITE, AND YELLOAV. 

Riding through a large gang of hoers, with two of the over- 
seers, I observed that a large proportion of them appeared to be 
thorough-bred Africans. Both of them thought that the " real 
black niggers" were about three fourths of thewhole number, 
and that this would hold as an average on Mississippi and Louis- 
iana plantations. One of them pointed out a girl — " That one is 
pure white ; you see her hair ?" (It was straight and sandy.) 
" She is the only one we have got." It was not uncommon, he 
said, to see slaves so white that they could not be easily distin- 
guished from pure-blooded whites. lie had never been on a plan- 
tation before, that had not more than one on it.* " Now," said I, 
" if that girl should dress herself well, and run away, would she 
be suspected of being a slave ?" 

" Oh, yes ; you might not know her if she got to the North, 
but any of us would know her." 

" How r 

" By her language and manners." 

" But if she had been brought up as house-servant ?" 

" Perhaps not in that case." 

* " A woman, calling herself Yiolet Ludlow, was arrested a few days ago, 
and committed to jail, on the supposition that she was a runaway slave be- 
longing to A. M. Mobley, of Upshur county, Texas, who had offered through 
our columns a reward of fifty dollars for her apprehension. On being 
brought before a justice of the peace, she stated that she was a white wo- 
man, and claimed her hbcrty. She states that she is a daughter of Jeremiah 
Ludlow, of Pike county, Alabama, and was brought from that country in 
1853, by George Cope, who emigrated to Texas. After arriving in Texas, 
she was sold by George Cope to a Docter Terry, in Upshur county, Texas, 
and was soon after sold by him to a Mrs. Hagen, or Hagens, of the same 
county. Yiolet says that she protested against each sale made of her, de- 
claring herself a free woman. She names George Gilmer, Thomas Eogers, 



THE PROFEKTY ASPECT OF SLAVERY. 91 

The other thought there would be no difficulty ; a slave gh'l 
would always quail when you looked in her eyes. 

I asked if they thought the mulattoes or white slaves were 
weaker or less valuable than the pure negroes. 

" Oh, no ; I'd rather have them a great deal," said one. 
"Well, I had not," said the other; "the blacker the better for 
me." "The white ones," added the first, "are more active, and 
know more, and T think do a good deal the most work." " Are 
they more subject to illness, or do they appear to be of weaker 
constitutions ?" One said they were not, the other that they did 
not seem to bear the heat as well. The first thought that this 
might be so, but that, nevertheless, they would do more w^ork. 
I afterwards asked the manager's opinion. He thought they did 
not stand excessive heat as well as the pure negroes, but that, 
from their greater activity and willingness, they would do more 
work. He believed they were equally strong, and no more liable 
to illness ; had never had reason to think them of weaker consti- 

John Garret, and others, residents of Pike county, Alabama, as persons who 
have known her 'from infancy as the daughter of one Jeremiah Ludlow and 
Eene Martin, a widow at the time of her birth, and as being a free white 
woman, and her father a free white man. Violet is about instituting legal 
proceedings for her freedom." — Shrcveport Southivesiern, 

" Some days since, a woman named Pelasgie was arrested as a fugitive 
slave, who has lived for more than twelve years in this city as a free woman. 
She was so nearly white that few could detect any traces of her African de- 
scent. She was arrested at the instance of a man named Raby, who claim- 
ed her as belonging to an estate of which he is heir-at-law. She was con- 
veyed 1o the First District guard-house for safe keeping, and while there she 
stated to Acting Recorder Filleul that she was free, had never belonged to 
Raby, an 1 had been in the full and unquestioned enjoyment of her freedom 
in this city for the above mentioned period. She also stated that she had a 
house, well furnished, which she was in the habit of letting out in rooms." — 
New Means Picayune. 



92 A JOURNEY IX THE IJACK COUNTRY. 

tutioD. They often had large families, and he had not noticed 
that their children were weaker or more subject to disease than 
others. He thought that perhaps they did not have so many 
children as the pure negroes, but he had supposed the reason to 
be that they did not begin bearing so young as the others, and 
this was because they were more attractive to the men, and per- 
haps more amorous themselves. He knew a great many mulat- 
toes living together, and they generally had large and healthy 
famiHes. 

Afterwards, at one of the plantation nurseries, where there were 
some twenty or thirty infants and young children, a number of 
whom were evidently the offspring of white fathers, I asked the 
nurse to point out the healthiest children to me, and of those 
she indicated, more were of the pure, than of the mixed breed. I 
then asked her to show me which were the sickliest, and she did 
not point to any of the latter. I then asked if she noticed any 
difference in this respect between the black and the yellow chil- 
dren. " Well, dey do say, master, dat de yellow ones is de sick- 
liest, but I can't tell for true dat I ever see as dey was." 

RELIGION. 

Being with the proprietor and the manager together, I asked 
iibout the religious condition of the slaves. There were " preach- 
ers" on the plantations, and they had some religious observances 
on a Sunday ; but the preachers were the worst characters among 
them, and, they thought, only made their religion a cloak for 
habits of especial depravity.^ They were, at all events, the most 

* The bad character of slave preachers in general T have often heard as- 
sumed in conversation, as if it were notorious, and it seems always to have 
been so. On the records of the Superior Court of Augustn, Georgia, in 



THE PIIOPKRTY ASPECT OF SLAVERY. 93 

deceitful and dishonest slaves on the plantation, and oftenest re- 
quired punishment. The negroes of all denominations, and even 
those who ordinarily made no religious pretensions, would join 
to^'ether in excitino- relio-ious observances. These o-entlemen 
considered the relio-ious exercises of the neoToes to be similar, in 
their intellectual and moral character, to the Indian feasts and 
war-dances, and did not encourage them. Neither did they like 
to have white men preach on the estate ; and in future they did 
not intend to permit them to do so. It excited the negroes so 
mucli as to greatly interfere with the subordination and order 
which were necessary to obtain the profitable use of their labor. 
They would be singing and dancing every night in their cabins, 
till dawn of day, and utterly unfit themselves for work. 

I remarked that I had been told that a religious negro was con- 
sidered to be worth a third more, because of his greater honesty 
and steadiness. 

"Quite the contrary," tbey both assured me, for a religious ne- 
gro generally made trouble, and they were glad to get rid of him. 

I have no doubt these opinions were sincere. Probably these 
gentlemen held different views of the intellectual and moral ca- 
pabilities of the African race from those entertained by the Lib- 
erty planters. I did not infer, however, that they shared the most 
advanced views of southern philosophers on this subject. Per- 
haps I should briefly indicate to what point these have reached, 
before pursuing the subject further. 

Cotemporaneously with the anatomico-metaphysical studies of 
Dr. Wilkinson and of Dr. Doherty, in London, Doctors Nottand 
Gliddon of Mobile, and Professor Cartwright of the University 

1790 "the number of negroes calling themselves parsons, going about the 
country, "is presented as a nuisance. — White's Statistics of Georgia. 



94 A JOUriNEY IN THE BACK COUNTUY. 

of Louisiana, have been laboring in a similar field with different 
purposes and to much more practical ends. 

The general character of the results with which they are re- 
warded will be sufficiently shown by a few extracts from a pro- 
found discourse delivered by the latter gentleman, before a con- 
vocation of the University of Mississippi : 

" Is he a son of Adam ? Does his peculiar physical conformation 
stand in opposition to the Bible, or does it prove its truth ? * * * An- 
atomy and physiology have been interrogated, and the response is that 
the Ethiopian or Canaanite is unfitted, from his organization and the 
physiological laws predicated in that organization, for the responsible 
duties of a free man, * * * When the original Hebrew of the Bible 
is interrogated, we find in the significant meaning of the original name 
of the negro, the identical fact set forth, which the knife of the anat- 
.omist at the dissecting table, has made appear : as if the revelations of 
anatomy, physiology, and history were a mere re-writing of what Mo- 
ses wrote. '■' * * A knowledge of the great primary truth that the 
negro is a slave by nature, and can never be happy, industrious, moral 
or religious, in any other condition than the one he was intended to 
fill, is of great importance to the theologian an J the statesman, and to 
all those who are at heart seeking to promote his temporal and future 
welfare. * * * It is this defective hematosis, or atmosperization of 
the blood conjoined with a deficiency of cerebral matter in the cranium 
and an t-xcess of nervous matter distributed to the organs of sensation 
and assimilat'on, that is the true cause of that debasement of mind 
wliich has rendered the people of Afiica unable to take care of them- 
selves," 

Dr. Cartwright dwells with such pardonable enthusiasm upon 
the inestimable value of these researches in the positive proof 
they aflford of what was so long suspected by the students of the 
middle ages — the truth of the Bible — that he omits any consid- 
eration of them in another aspect, in which they will appear still 
more interesting to the earnest Christian souls to whom he ad- 
dresses himself. Let us, for instance, passing from the sacred 
record and the pages of ancient history, interrogate the explorers 
of Africa, and see to what practical conclusions we are at once ir- 
resistibly led. Did Mungo Park, or Lardner, or Anderson, or 



THE TROPERTY ASPECT OP SLAVERY. 95 

Robertson, or Livingstone, or Bayard Taylor, or Captain Canot, 
in all their various wanderings, ever find existing in a single tribe 
of the true Negro, Ethiopian or Canaanitish race, a true Chris- 
tian church, of indigenous origin and growth ? If not, what 
are we to infer? Certainly not that we are to oppose the evi- 
dent will of divine Providence, by preacliing the religion of 
white men to this race. No, the proper and only divinely desig- 
nated duty of a Canaanite's soul has been, for countless ages, 
fetish-worship, devotion, that is, to some person, animal, thing, 
or things — cotton, corn bread, hog, pumpkins and Sunday-tricks 
for instance. 

Let no whining fanatic say that the whole race is not thus 
condemned to fetishism, that many tribes have been found to rec- 
ognize a supreme Spirit, to look forward to a happy existence 
after death, etc. So there are known to be legislative assemblies 
among some tribes, and elective kings who hold office only dur- 
ing good behavior — there is, in fact, every thing among the 
Aiiicans which Professor Cartwright says there is not, but the 
question yet remains, are these true Canaanites? — a question the 
superficial observer is not likely to answer. For after all, mere 
blackness of the skin no more authorizes a being otherwise in 
the likeness of a man, to be detained as a slave, or to be forbid- 
den the Bible, than mere whiteness of the skin shows an entire 
fitness for the responsible duties of a freeman, or proves a clean 
heai't to be within. 

Real, God-ordained, unchangeable Canaanites and fetish-wor- 
shipers. Professor Cartwright has proved, can only be surely 
known by a careful analysis of the "mental functions," and a close 
scrutiny of *' the membranes, muscles, and tendons, of all the fluids 
and secretions, and of the brain, the nerves, the chyle, and all 



96 A JOUKXEY TX THE BACK COUNTRY. 

the humors." You must examine the bones of the alleged Ca- 
naanite ; if he be a genuine specimen, they contain -^ phosphate 
of lime, and — gelatine : and as for his eyes, they will be fur- 
nished with " something like the membrana nictitans formed by a 
preternatural enlargement of the plica lunaris in the inner can- 
thus."* 

It is fortunate that this, the surest test of the true Canaanite, 
is the most readily applied, and involves no use of the dissecting 
knife. Let a man's color be what it may, if an examination of 
the eye discloses the preternatural enlargement of the plica luna- 
ris in the inner canthus there can be no danger in treating him 
as a slave, a Canaanite ; a fore-ordained goat.f 

Thus are these great discoveries immediately applied to 
further the ends of human justice. The North boasts of the 
greater speed of its railroads, and the celerity of its printing- 
presses, pin-making and hog-chopping machines, but true to its 
higher instincts, the South brings its discoveries to bear upon 
the administration of criminal jurisprudence, and thus fur- 



* Was my friend the overseer a disciple of science and of Cartwright, and 
did he therefore look in the white woman's eyes, to see if she were a slave ? 
There are "secrets of the craft" among overseers, I have beeji t(fld. Was 
this among them — " to detect a white-skinned slave, pretending to be free, 
sec if there be not a preternatural enlargement of the plica lunaris, in the 
inner canthus, having the semblance of a membrana nictitans ?" 

f "However zealously," says that true conservative journal, the Rich- 
mond Whig, " however zealously a negro seeks to affect innocence, the eye 
always betrays guilt and a great evil capacity. Bill, the slave of Mrs. Eliza- 
beth Johnson, who stole the coat and five dollars from Richard, a slave of T. 
Cauthorn, who works on board the canal boat Glazebrook, was ordered thirty 
by the Mayor on yesterday, in disregard of the most solemn protestations 
of innocence on the part of Bill. There was an amount of villainy reflected 
in his eyes that could well contradict all the protestations he could utter for 
a month." 



THE PROPERTY ASPECT OF SLAVERY. 97 

nishes the crowning glory of the genius of the nineteentli cen- 
tLuy. 

Unfortunately a knowledge of these grand and harmonious 
truths is as yet but imperfectly disseminated in the South itself, 
and all kinds of explanations and defenses of slavery are made 
by simple men who are uninstructed in the beautiful and satisfac- 
tory theories based upon them. 

If I had asked my friends on the estate last described, for in- 
stance, by what right they held their people in subjection, and 
on what principle they governed them, they would probably have 
answered somewhat thus : 

" We have been brought up in slavery ; it has always existed 
around us unquestioned and unquestionable. Perhaps it is wrong 
in a comprehensive view, but if so, habit prevents us from real- 
izing it. It seems to us as much the natural relation of the 
white and the black, and of those who come of the black, as 
marriage is of the man and the woman. To see a negro free 
from the special government of some one of our superior race 
seems to us a phenomenon as exceptional and as much in need 
of investigation and reform as it does to you to see him held to 
involuntary servitude. We are not disposed to argue the matter 
— the negroes are a chief part of our property, inherited of our 
fathers and improved by us. If you undertake to destroy that 
property we will stand on its defense with arms. 

" As for religion, we respect it, but we do not respect cant nor 
fanatical superstition under the name of religion. Perhaps the 
negro might be trained and educated, if we began with him 
young, to a capacity for better things ; certainly our household 
servants seem in general much superior in character to the field- 
hands. But to give him such an education would not be safe, 



98 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

nor could it at present be afforded. We need his whole force to 
supply the demand for cotton, we can not therefore try danger- 
ous experiments with hipi. As to the effect of this on ourselves 
you must remember that the negro is in our eyes, not a man, as 
he is in yours, but simply a negro ; therefore our sympathies for 
those of our own race are not blunted, as it seems to you they 
must be, by the severities we have to employ with our unruly 
and disobedient slaves." 

Possibly, after all, in the present state of science, such an ex- 
planation would have quite as favorable an influence on the mind 
of the majority of honest anti-slavery men, would do quite as 
much to lessen the disgust with which some persons view the 
whole business, as the medico-theological treatises to which so 
much importance is attached by the more advanced minds of the 
South. 

And here I must observe, that after taking no little pains to 
obtain the views of the enlightened admirers and defenders of the 
institution of slavery, I have failed to find a single writer among 
the hosts with whom the religious bearings of the system form a 
favorite topic, who even makes an attempt to assault the real posi- 
tion occupied with regard to it by the advocates of emancipation. 
This position, as I understand it, docs not involve a denial that the 
descendants of a certain number of savages, dispersed and incor- 
porated socially in a previously civilized and educated community 
of Christians, will acquire habits of life more in accordance with 
the moral standard of that community than they w^ould possess 
had they never emerged from the primitive barbarism of their 
ancestors, but only maintains that after having been so incorpo- 
rated during several generations, their spiritual development is at 
length likely to be more rapid if they are allowed to regulate the 



THE PKOPERTY ASPECT OF SLAVERY. 99 

disposition of tlieir own time and labor, and to freely enjoy the 
returns of that labor, than if they continued to be held in a state 
of complete vassalage in these and other respects ; and that this 
is still more true, if for the purpose of keeping them in such vas- 
salage, the ordinary facilities for intellectual improvement, so es- 
sential to civilization and religion, are carefully withheld from 
them. 

Nor can I refrain from remarking here on the folly of that 
disdainful temper, so habitual with southern controversialists, 
(and which so few of them attempt even rhetorically to disguise,) 
toward those whom they deem their enemies in the matter of 
slavery. They fire so wide of their opponents' position, that 
their books and speeches often serve only as arguments against 
themselves, in the minds of honest inquirers. This Asiatic pol- 
icy of supreme contempt may still answer in the South, but ex- 
cept with the recent immigrants, it is no longer successful in hin- 
dering the growth of anti-slavery principles at the North, yet the 
only other weapon generally employed, even by the ablest of its 
advocates, is a shallow pretense of resorting for testimony to the 
results of scientific investigations, and to statistical inductions. 



" II is fortunate for slavery that the controversy with abolition is re- 
duced to an issue of fact and argument. The plausible fallacies of the 
aboUtionists will disappear before the revelations of the census. Cas- 
uists may dispute over the nice distinctions of ethical science until all 
just perceptions of right and wrong are confounded, but statistics will 
speedily and conclusively determine the effect of slavery as an economic 
and social institution. Already has it been shown by irresistible ar- 
gument, that the proportion of wealth to the individual in a slavehold- 
ing community, <yreatly exceeds that in the free States. Even in the 
North, candid men concede that their liberty is rapidly degeneratmg 
into license and anarchy. The following statistics, exhibiting a com- 
parative view of northern and southern society in respect to two most 
important elements, are pregnant with instruction and encouragement 
to the slaveholding community : 

o 



100 A JOUENEY IN THE BACK COUNTEY. 

FROM THE CENSUS OF 1850. 

_ niaies. Population. Churches. Criminals 

™®: 583,169 9-15 6'> 

Massaclmsetts 994 514 ^ ^^^ ^J 

New Hampshire 317 976 626 77 

):^™^t 314120 599 39 

Connecticut ^70709 fro^ -,,r 

^'-Vr<^ ;;::;;::::;;:: ?1?;5!5 2^2^ 'tl 

^^^^^y°^k 3097,394 4,134 1080 

Pennsylvania 2,311,786 3,566 302 

^^^^^^^^^ ._J_1.532 'l80 6 

'^^^^^ 8,718,383 13,300 "2;T71 

^^^ 583,034 909 ^200 

|^|;.ina.:::::::;;:::;;:;;- ^ - 

f^^':^^m^ 606,526 L016 8^ 

^°^"«^^^^^ 517 762 '306 160 

^^""^"^^^y 982,405 1,845 141 

'^''^^^ T8;329;i^ •ii;685 i;^ 

hZ'taJr. r^'"^'''^'^ ^'^ ^'f ^ ™"^^^°' ^^'^ *^" ««^tl^ern States 
.X-^ohlj A ?"r'^ ^^-^^ '^^^^'^^^ ^^^^ the ten northern States 
^^hlch boast loudest of then- morality and enlightenment With an 

doS^L^n'^ "^' ^r"""" r P^^P^'^*^^-' *^-^-^ free States W 
slave St^tP. q 1 "^^ 'T'-'"^' '^^^^'"^^ ^"^^- ^^^^'^^ "^ ten corresponding 
shue States. Such revelations will complete the revolution of publiS 
opinion in respect to slavery," ^^^^luu ui puuuo 

This imposing array of figures was originally marshaled, with 
the comments attached, by the Richmond Enquirer, but has since 
been repeatedly used to point a similar moral by the journals and 
orators of the North who are allied with that respectable "Dem- 
ocratic" organ. The folly of such a display is precisely like that 
of the Chinese generals who draw up their warriors in a position 
from which they are expected to throw terror into the ranks of 
their advancing adversaries, by frightful grimaces and menacing 
gestures, but in which they are quite unnecessarily exposed to 



THE PROPERTY ASPECT OF SLAVERY. 101 

the fire of their deadliest artillery. The Commissioner of the 
Census himself, a most careful, though sincerely loyal partisan of 
slavery, is at once seized and made to serve the guns of the anti- 
slavery partisan whenever his attention is called to this bugga- 
boo of figures. In a work entitled " A Statistical View of the 
United States" published and extensively given away in the free 
as well as the slave States, by Congress, Mr. DeBow observes, 
commenting upon the census returns of churches (p. 133) that 
they do not undertake to show the number of members of the 
churches or the number of attendants on their worship ; that in 
the rural districts there are " thousands of buildings — rude sheds 
or log houses" — which are enumerated as church edifices, and 
which aro used both as school houses and places of worship. 
The northern man knows that there can be but an extremely 
small proportion of the northern churches which have no bet- 
ter accommodation for their meetings than a rude shed or log 
school house. On turning over a few pages he finds the informa- 
tion set out by Mr. DeBow again that while the average value 
of the church edifices in New England and the Middle States is 
over 14000 each, in the Southern Seaboard and Central it is less 
than $1000 ; that in the Northwestern it is $1200 and in the 
Southwestern $900, (p. 139) ; that in the ten States above men- 
tioned (of which it is to be noted that one of the so-called northern 
is a slave State,) the amount of church accommodation for each 
square* mile of territory is, in the northern, equal to one hundred 
and three ; in the southern, to thirty-seven ; while in the north- 
ern States there are on an average four hundred and thirty-seven 
church edifices to every thousand square miles, and in the slave 
States but one hundred and thirty-six. By a very simple calcu- 
lation he ascertains from the figures furnished by Mr. DeBow, 



102 A JOUENEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

that in the ten northern States mentioned, the people have paid 
for their churches more than three times as much as those of the 
ten southern, and the former unitedly will accommodate seven 
hundred and fifty thousand more worshipers than the latter. A 
little inquiry of travelers, or an examination of the reports of the 
Southern Aid Society, will satisfy him that while there are few 
northern churches in which religious instructiou is not regularly 
given at least once a week, and in the great majority of cases 
much more frequently, and that by an educated man, engaged 
and paid for this purpose, this is by no means the case with 
those edifices in the slave States returned as churches. This 
indeed might be inferred from the marked absence of comfort 
in a large proportion of the houses of worship at the South, 
as also from their remoteness and inaccessibility to a great 
part of the inhabitants of the district to which they belong. 

Then as to the " number of criminals," he finds in the census 
only returns of such as are confined in the prisons, jails, etc., of 
the difi'erent States. Under these heads he will look in vain for 
figures corresponding to those arranged by the Virginia Com- 
missioner Lin. At page 166, however, Mr. DeBow furnishes 
the following statement respecting the inmates of the prisons 
of the United States : 

Colored, inclu- 
Nativo Whites. Forei^Whites. ding slaves. 

Slaveholding States, . . . 988 370 323 

Free States, 2271 1129 .565 

Xn every 10,000 In every 10,000 In every 10,000 

, , ,. ^ Wktive white). foreign whiles. colored. 

Slaveholdmg States, . . . 1/VVo H^V^ 0^3_8_. 

^^ee States, IJi^ 5/^Vl 28,^,^, 

The defense of Lynch law which is so commonly made at the 
South has made it notorious that the administration of criminal 



THE PROPERTY ASPECT OF SLAVERY. 10'? 

justice in that portion of our country is very imperfect, and that 
comparatively a small fraction of those offending against the 
laws can be brought to a regular trial ; and it is also well known 
to many that in several of the slave States but a small proportion 
of the criminals couvicted in courts of justice are sentenced to 
confinement in jails or penitentiaries, but that they are punished 
by whipping, exposure in the pillory, and branding with a hot 
iron, modes of correction long ago abandoned in all the free 
States. And as to the number of colored persons in the jails of 
the North, as compared with the South, we turn again to Mr. 
DeBow (Industrial Resources of the South,) and under the head 
of Negroes (vol. ii., page 249) we find this explanation of the 
remarkable disproportion between the amount of valuable labor- 
— capital under lock and key in the former and in the latter part 
of the country. 

" On our estates we dispense with the whole machinery of public 
police, and public courts of justice. Thus we try, decide, and execute 
the sentences in thousands of cases, which, in other countries, w^ould go 
into courts." 

To what efl:cct, then, have those tables been arranged, except 
to awaken suspicions, in the mind of the careful student, of the 
solidity of all the foundations of the recent, hastily constructed 
"Southern Democratic" philosophy? Suspicions which will be 
abundantly confirmed, as my experience would indicate, if he 
will observe and investigate honestly, its alleged premises, 
whether psychological or ethnological, in a sufficient number of 
instances to warrant any safe and confident deductions. 

What southern writer has investigated with impartiality^ the 
subject of emancipation in the British West Indies ? We have 
in our Democratic journals on the one side, and in the Abolition 
journals on the other, abundant ('.r ^^ar^e statements of the re- 



^^* A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTEY. 

suits of that act, but I have yet to see an attempt made by an 
American to form an honest judicial conclusion upon the subject, 
resulting from any respectable study of evidence, except by per- 
sons whom southern writers assume to be unworthy of their at- 
tention. Southern writers and their northern allies utterly ig- 
nore the position, statements and arguments of their opponents 
on this subject, and content themselves with repeated displays of 
evidence which they appear to regard as incontrovertible, when 
in reality it entirely overshoots the position of those who defend 
the Emancipation Act. I am not at all willing to be classed with 
these defenders myself, yet it is my impression that wherever 
they get the ear of the public in this country, they are having it 
all their own way, bS^cause their opponents disdain to cope with 
them. But there is also another class, to which I profess to be- 
long myself, and which numbers in its ranks, I suspect, most of 
the thinking men at the North, which holds the opinion that how- 
ever untimely, and perhaps injudicious and rash in method the 
act of negro emancipation in the British West Indies may have 
been, the original design was both right in itself, and reasonable in 
its anticipations, both philanthropic and economical, and is thus 
justified in the results. I certainly have seen no evidence drawn 
from West India emancipation, cited by any of those writers who 
so delight in parliamentary returns of exports and imports, value 
of estates, etc., which are not satisfectorily replied to by temper- 
ately written books (such as Mr. Bigelow's little volume of personal 
observations in Jamaica,) which are in every tolerable library at 
the North. On the other hand, I know of no attempt to refute 
much respectable evidence derived from the English islands, that 
is favorable to this view, and before the public. Is such evidence 
unknown and unconsidered at the South ? If so, the alleged 



THE PROPERTY ASPECT OF SLAVERY, 105 

success on the part of the hitter in an issue of fact and argument, 
will prove fallacious, for the abolitionists will not fail to put it 
within reach of every candid, thoughtful mind in the free States. 

RELIGIOUS CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SLAVES. 

The frequency with which the slaves use religious phrases of 
all kinds, the readiness with which they engage in what are 
deemed religious exercises, and fall into religious ecstacies, with 
the crazy, jocular manner in vvhicli they often talk of them, are 
striking and general characteristics. It is not at all uncommon 
to hear them refer to conversations which they allege, and appar- 
ently believe themselves to have had with Christ, the apostles, or 
the prophets of old, or to account for some of their actions by 
attributing them to the direct influence of the Holy Spirit, or of 
the devil. It seems to me that this state of mind is fraught 
with more danger to their masters than any to which they could 
possibly have been brouglit by general and systematic education, 
and by the unrestricted study of the Bible, even though this in- 
volved what is so much dreaded, but which is, I suspect, an in- 
evitable accompaniment of moral elevation, the birth of an am- 
bition to take care of themselves. Grossly ignorant and degraded 
in mind, with a crude, undefined, and incomplete system of the- 
ology and ethics, credulous and excitable, intensely superstitious 
and fanatical, what better field could a cunning monomaniac or 
a sagacious zealot desire in which to set on foot an appalling cru- 
sade ? 

The negro races, compared with the white, at least with the 
Teutonic, have greater vanity or love of approbation, a stronger 
dramatic and demonstrative character, more excitability, less ex- 
act or analytic minds, and a nature mere sensuous, though, (per- 



106 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

liaps from want of cultivation,) less refined. They take a real 
pleasure, for instance, sucli as it is a rare thing for a white man to 
be able to feel, in bright and strongly contrasting colors, and in 
music, in which nearly all are proficient to some extent. They 
are far less adapted for steady, uninterrupted labor than we are, 
but excel us in feats demanding agility and tempestuous energy. 
A Mississippi steamboat manned by negro deck-hands will wood 
up a third quicker than one manned by the same number of 
whites, but white laborers of equal intelligence and under equal 
stimulus will cut twice as much wood, split twice as many rails, 
and hoe a third more corn in a day than negroes. On many 
plantations, religious exercises are almost the only habitual recre- 
ation not purely sensual, from steady dull labor, in which the ne- 
groes are permitted to indulge, and generally all other forms of 
mental enjoyment are discouraged. Religious exercises are rarely 
forbidden, and a greater freedom to individual impulses and talent 
is allowed while engaged in them than is ever tolerated in con- 
ducting mere amusements or educational exercises. 

Naturally and necessarily all that part of the negro's nature 
which is otherwise suppressed, bursts out with an intensity and 
vehemence almost terrible to witness, in forms of religious wor- 
ship and communion, and a "profession" of piety which it is nec- 
essary to make before one can take a very noticeable part in tlic 
customary social exercises, is almost universal, except on planta- 
tions where the ordinary tumultuous religious meetings are dis- 
couraged, or in towns where other recreations are open to the 
slaves.* 

* The following newspaper paragraph indicates the wholesale way in 
which slaves may be nominally Christianized : 

" Revival amoxg the Slaves. — Rev. J. M. C. Breaker, of Beaufort, S. C, 



THE mOPERTY ASPECT OF SLAVERY. 10*7 

RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION OF SLAVES. 

Witli regard to the religious instruction of slaves, widely dif- 
ferent practices of course prevail. There are some slaveholders, 
like Bishop Polk of Louisiana, who oblige, and many others who 
encourage, their slaves to engage in religious exercises, furnish- 
ing them certain conveniences for the purpose, as described at 
page 449 of the " Seaboard Slave States." Among the wealthier 
slave owners, however, and in all those parts of the country 
where the enslaved portion of the population outnumbers the 
whites, there is generally a visible, and often an avowed distrust 
of the eftect of religious exercises upon slaves, and even the 
preaching of white clergymen to them is permitted by many 
with reluctance.* The prevailing impression among us, with re- 
writes to the Southern Baptist that within the last three mouths he has bap- 
tized by immersion three hundred and fifty persons, all of them, with a few 
exceptions, negroes. These conversions were the result of a revival which 
has been in progress dm-ing the last six months. On tho 12tli inst., he bap- 
tized two hundred and twenty-three converts— aU blacks but three— and the 
ceremony, although performed with due deliberation, occupied only one hour 
and five minutes. This is nearly four a minute, and Mr. Breaker considers it 
a demonstration that the three thousand converted on the day of Pentecost 
could easily have been baptized by the twelve apostles— each taking two 
hundred and fifty — in an hour and thirteen minutes." 

* » Bishop Polk, of Louisiana, was one of the guests. He assured me 
that he had been all over the country on Red River, the scene of tho ficti- 
tious sufferings of ' Uncle Tom,' and that he had found the temporal and 
spiritual welfare of the negroes well cared for. He had confirmed thirty 
black persons near the situation assigned to Legree's estate. He is himself 
the owner of four hundred slaves, whom he endeavors to bring up in a re- 
Ugious manner. He tolerates no religion on his estate but that of the Church, 
he baptizes all the children, and teaches thorn the catechism. All, without 
exception, attend the Church service, and tho chanting is creditably per- 
formed by them, in the opinion of their owner. Ninety of them are commu- 
nicants, marriages aro celebrated according to tlie Church ritual, and the 
state of morals is satisfactory. Twenty infants had been baptized by tho 



108 



A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 



ganJ to tlie important influence of slavery in promoting the 
spread of religion among the blacks, is an erroneous one in my 
opinion. I ]iave heard northern clergymen speak as if they sup- 
posed a regular daily instruction of slaves in the truths of Chris- 
tianity to be general. So far is this from being the case, that al- 
though family prayers were held in several of the fifty planters' 
houses in Mississippi and Alabama, in which I passed a night, I 
never in a single instance saw a field-hand attend or join in the 
devotion of the family. 

In South Carolina, a formal remonstrance, signed by over three 
hundred and fifty of the leading planters and citizens, was pre- 
sented to a Methodist clergyman who had been chosen by the 
Conference of that State, as being a cautious and discreet person 
to preach especially to slaves. It was his purpose, expressly de- 
clared beforehand, to confine himself to verbal instruction in re- 
ligious truth. "Verbal instruction," replied the remonstrants, 
"will increase the desire of the black population to learn. * * * 
Open the missionary sluice, and the current will swell in its 
gradual onward advance. We thus expect . progressive system 
of improvement will be introduced, or will follow from the na- 
ture and force of circumstances, which, if not checked, (though 
it may be shrouded in sophistry and disguise,) will ultimately 
revolutionize our civil institutions:' 

bishop just before his departure from home, and he had left his whole estate 
his keys, etc., .n the sole charge of one of his slaves, without the lil esl 

'hr ;r^iir/^^^^ °-"^^' *^^ ^^=^"^^^ -^- --t bear ^ .md 

that by he laws of Louisiana, emancipation has been rendered all but im- 
pracfcable, and that, if practicable, it would not necessarily be, in all case" 
anactofmercyorof justice."-rAe Western WorU ReviLa. By the S 

otr. TTl ''• ^'" -^'--f " A-ericaand the American Church 'el' 
Oxford, John Henry Parker, 1854. ' 



THE PROPERTY ASPECT OF SLAVERY. 109 

The missionaiy, the Rev. T. Tupper, accordingly retired from 
the field. The local newspaper, the Greenville Mountaineer, in 
announcing his withdrawal, stated that the great body of the 
people were manifestly opposed to the religious instruction of 
their slaves, even if it were only given orally. 

Though I do not suppose this view is often avowed, or con- 
sciously held by intelligent citizens, such a formal, distinct, and 
effective manifestation of sentiment made by so important an in- 
tegral portion of the slaveholding body, can not be supposed to 
represent a merely local or occasional state of mind, and I have 
not been able to resist the impression, that even where the econ- 
omy, safety and duty of some sort of religious education of the 
slaves is conceded, so much caution, reservation and restriction is 
felt to be necessary in their instruction, that the result in the 
majority of cases has been merely to furnish a delusive clothing 
of Christian forms and phrases, to the original vague superstition 
of the African savage. 

THE CHURCH RECUMBENT. 

Upon the value of the statistics of " colored church member- 
ship," which are often used as evidence that the evils of slavery 
are fully compensated by its influence in Christianizing the slaves, 
some light is thrown by the following letter from the white pas- 
tor of a town church in that part of the Soutb in which the 
whites are most numerous, and in which the negroes enjoy the 
most privileges. 

" To the Editor of the Richmond ( Ya.) Religious Herald. 

* * * "The truth is, the teachings of the pulpit (at least among 
Baptists) have nothing to do with the matter. Let me furnish a case 
in proof. Of two churches which the writer serves, his immediate 
predecessor was pastor for about twenty-five years. It would be only 



110 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

necessary to give his name, to furnish the strongest and most satisfac- 
tory assurance that nothing which ever fell from his lips could be con- 
strued into the support of ignorance, superstition, or fanaticism. Dur- 
ing the five or six years I have served these churches, whatever may 
have been my errors and failings, (and I am ready to admit that they 
have been numerous and grievous enough, in all conscience,) I know 
I have never uttered a sentiment which could be tortured into the sup- 
port of the superstitions prevailing among the colored people. And 
yet, in both these churches, the colored members are as superstitious 
and fanatical as they are elsewhere. Indeed, this was to be expected, 
for I certainly claim no superiority over my brethren in the ministry, 
and I am satisfied that many of them are far better qualified than I 
am to expose error and to root out superstition. This state of things, 
then, is not due to the teachings of the pulpit. Nor is it the result of 
private instructions by masters. Indeed, these last have been afforded 
so sparingly, till within a few years since, that they could produce but 
little effect of any sort. And, besides, those who OAvn servants, and 
are willing to teach them, are far too intelligent to countenance super- 
stition in any way. I repeat the inquiry, then, why is it that so many 
of our colored members are ignorant, superstitious and fanatical ? It 
is the effect of instructions received from leading men among them- 
selves, and the churches are responsible for this effect, in so lar as tliey 
receive into fellowship those wdio have listened to these instructions, 
ground their hopes upon them, and guide their lives by them. What- 
ever we may say against superstition, so long as we receive into our 
churches those who are its slaves, they will believe that we think them 
Christians ; and, naturally relying on our judgment as expressed by 
their reception, they will live deluded, and die but to be lost. 

•'But some one will sa^'', 'we never receive colored persons when 
they manifest these supei'Stitions — when they talk of visions, dreams, 
sounds,' etc. This is right, as far as it goes. In every such case they 
should be rejected. But superstition of a fatal character often exists 
where nothing is said about dreams and visions. It is just as fatally 
superstitious to trust in prayers and feelings, as in dreams and visions. 
And this is the sort of superstition which now prevails among the col- 
ored people. They have found that sights and sounds will not answer 
before the whites, and now, (reserving these, perhaps, for some chosen 
auditory of their own color,) they substitute ]:>rayers and feelings. In 
illustration permit me to record, in no spirit of levity, the stereotyped 
experience which generally passes current, and, in ninety-nine cases 
out of a hundred, introduces the colored candidate into the church. 
The pastor is informed, by one of the 'colored deacons,' that a man 
wishes to offer to the church with a view to baptism. The fact is an- 
nounced, a meeting of the church called, and the candidate comes for- 
ward. 

" Pastor. ' Well, John, tell me in a few words, in your own way, 
your religious experience. What have been your feelings, and what 
are your present hopes and purposes ?' 



THE PROPERTY ASPECT OF SLAVERY. HI 

^^ Tohn ' I -ee other people trying, and so I thought I would try too 

T fplt heavy — I felt a weight — and i i^epi oii pi^'^^^o , -, 

"ht-I feft easy-I felt like I loved all Christian people-I felt like I 

'"'^;fN:w:Twst-positively the whole of the experience whicli is gener- 
ally relate! by colored candidates for bapti..^ ^^lllolinin.. 

brt:al-srrsT^e|tth^i^ 

the churches-I haTe received many "P°° ' "y'^^'L,^ by my trood 

Tir i^rTo-duus^tS^J 1 v:r;rnot'rrttnX.'H-e 
™;'oTu» rl^ktt r-^ceiving P-- - -1^/^°^ W 

In the whole of it, there is not "f 7™'%^Lf'Pf^o"e word about 
questions; and were this not the case i naxe questions may 

efforts, the colored people will have most oonfidenee. 

Not the smallest suggestion, I observe, in all the long article 
from which the above is derived, is ventured, that the negroes 
are capable of education, or that their religious condition wou d 
improve if their general enlightenment of mind were not stndi- 

ously prevented. 

"I have often heard the remark made," says the Rev. O. O. 
Jones, in a treatise on the "Religious Instruction of Slaves," 
printed at Savannah, Georgia, 1842, "by men whose standing 
and office in the churches afforded them abundant opportumty 
for observation, that the more they have had to do with colored 
members, the less confidence they have been compelled to place 
in their Christian professions." 

A portion of a letter written for publication by the wife of 



12 



A JOURNEY IN TETE BACK COUNTKY. 



the pastor of a clnircli in the capital of Alabama, given below, 
naively reveals the degree of enlightenment prevailing among 
the Christianized Africans at a point where their means of in- 
struction are a thousand times better than they are on an 
average throughout the country. 

to '^i^f Ii "" *''""'''? ^"^ ^V"^ seriously, and in the strongest light held ud 
to hnn the enormity of the crime in forsaking his lawful wif and tnJ-^ 
mg another, Colly replied, most earnestly, an°d not takl if at all the" 

Lor, Massa Harry, what was I to do, sir ? She tuk all I ponlrl 
git and more too, sir, to put on her back ;'and telh ' de truf sir dre s 

er^Mas'^^ ZtT. ""'^ ^''' ""'1 ?^ ''^^''' ''' ^ '-onsSd wS 
man cou d do IrT /^'^T ' "^'^^ '''"' '''^ ^^> ^ J^^ '^^'^ ^^' ^ 'lucent 

made to have; yet, strange to say, they are perfect models of coniu 

bJlLiriT""""* """ '"°''!"°S in my husband's study by a respecta- 

can help you!' ' ""^ *'''"S P'"'"''"''"- ^'"^ "'='"' ?-perhaps I 

r tJ''?' '"^'*™ > i' ''^ Partickler business ivid bisself ' 

BeholdT/ '"' ^"^^"i^!^ curiosity, after all^his^sho'^of mfste i^ 
Behold the answer m plam English, or rather nigger Eno-]isl "^ ^* 

" jLrS'tl '"''-^^^r^n'^'r' ^^ ^ "^^"^^'^^ ^^-^^ anothe husband ' 
Jus at this crisis, tjie Oracle entered, who, havino- anthoritv hv n 
few. spoken words, to join together those Whom' no man ma v m^^^^^^ 
der, hese poor people simply imagine him gifted with eS nowT?; 
annul the contract Avith a breath of his moudi ^ ^^'' ^^ 

n. T l.rr '^^, T"''^ '^° ^""'^ ^^'""^ tl^'« ^^oman was reallv no widow 



THE PKOrERTY ASPECT OF SLAVERY. 1 1 ;3 

Conference,' where an amusing scene occurred, which resulted in the 
discomfiture of the disconsolate petitioner, who returned to her home 
rather crest-fallen. 

" These quarterly conference debates, for flights of oratory, and super- 
lativeness of diction, beggar all description. Be it understood, that 
negroes, as a class, have more ' business' to attend to than any other 
people — that is, provided they can thereby get a chance to ' speak 'fore 
white folks.' To make a speech is glory enough for Sambo, if he 
happen to have ' the gift of gab ;' and to speak before the preacher is 
an honor unparalleled. And, by the way, if the preacher have will 
and wit enough to manage and control the discordant elements of a 
negro Quarterly Conference, he will be abundantly rewarded with 
such respect and gratitude as man seldom may lay claim to. They 
account him but a very little ' lower than the angels ;' and their lives, 
their fortunes, and their sacred honor, are equally his at command. 
But wo be to the unfortunate pastor who treats them with undue in- 
dulgence ; they will besiege him daily and hourly with their petty af- 
fairs, and their business meetings will be such a monopoly of his time 
and patience, that but for the farcical character of the same, making 
them more like dramatic entertainments than sober realities, he would 
be in despair. Far into the short hours of morning will they speech- 
ify and magnify, until nothing but the voice of stern authority, in a 
tone of command not to be mistaken, can stop the torrent." 

An Alabama gentleman whom I questioned with regard to the 
chastity of the so-called pious slaves, confessed, that four negro 
women had borne children in his own house, all of them at the 
time of delivery members in good standing of the Baptist church, 
and none of them calling any man husband. The only negi'o 
man in the house was also a church member, and he believed 
that he was the father of the four children. He said that he 
did not know of more than one negro woman whom he could 
suppose to be chaste, yet he knew hosts who were members of 
churches.* 

* " A small farmer." who " has had control of negroes for thirty years 
and has been pursuing his present system with them for twenty years," and 
who "owning but few slaves is able," as he observes, "to do better by 
them" than large planters, writing to Mr. DeBow, says, " I have tried fltith- 
fully to break up immorality. I have not known an oath to be sworn for a 
long time. I know of no quarreling, no calling harsh names, and but little 



11^ A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

A northern clergyman who had been some years in another 
town in Alabama, where also the means of instruction offered 
the slaves were unusually good, answered my inquiry, What pro- 
portion of the colored members of the churches in the town hai 
any clear comprehension of the meaning of the articles of faith 
which they professed ? " certainly not more than one in seven." 
The acknowledgment that " the colored people will, in spite of 
all our efforts, have more confidence in the views of leading col- 
ored members," made by the writer of the letter taken from the 
" Religious Herald," has been generally made by all clergymen 
at the South with whom I have conversed. A clergyman of the 
Episcopal church, of very frank and engaging manners, said in my 
presence that he had been striving for seven years to gain the 
confidence of the small number of Africans belonging to his con- 
gregation, and with extreme humility he had been lately forced 
to acknowledge that all his apparent success hitherto had been 
most delusive. When asked how he accounted for it, he at once 
ascribed it to the negro's habitual distrust of the white race, and 
in discussing the causes of this distrust he asked how, if he pre- 
tended to believe that the Bible was the Word of God, addressed 
equally to all the human race, he could explain to a negro's sat- 
isfaction why he should fear to put it directly into his hands and 
instruct him to read it and judge for himself of his duty ? A 
planter present, a member of his church, immediately observed 
that these were dangerous views, and advised him to be cautious 
in the expression of them. The laws of the country forbade the 

stealing. Habits of amalgamation, I can not stop. I can only check it in 
name. I am willing to be taught, for I have tried every thing I know." He 
has his field-negroes attend his own family prayers on Sunday, prayer 
meetings at four o'clock Sunday mornings, eic—DeBow's Resources, vol il, 
p. 337. 



THE PEOPERTY ASPECT OF SLAVERY. 115 

education of negroes, and the church was, and he trusted always 
would remain, the bulwark of the laws. The clergyman replied 
that he had no design to break the laws, but he must say that be 
considered that the law which withheld the Bible from the negro 
was unnecessary and papistical in character.* 

THE RESTRAINT UPON THE WHITE CLERGY. 

The " Methodist Protestant," a religious newspaper edited by 
a clergyman, in Maryland, where the olave population is to the 
free only in the ratio of one to twenty-five, lately printed an ac- 
count of a slave auction in Java (translated from a Dutch paper), 
at which the father of a slave family was permitted to purchase 
his wife and children at a nominal price, owing to the humanity 
of the spectators. The account concluded as follows : 

" It would be difficult to describe the joy experienced by these 
slaves on hearing the fall of the hammer which thus gave them their 
hberty ; and this joy was further augmented by the presents given them 
by numbers of the spectators, in order that they might be able to ob- 
tain a subsistence till such time as they could procure employment. 

" These are the acts of a noble generosity that deserve to be remem- 
bered, and which, at the same time, testify that the inhabitants of Java 
begin to abhor the crying injustice of slavery, and are willing to en- 
tertain measures for its abolition." 

To give currency to such ideas, even in Maryland, would be 
fatal to what clergymen call their " influence," and which they 

* The "Southern Presbyterian," in reviewing some observations made be- 
fore a South Carolina Bible Society, in which it had been urged that if slaves 
were permitted to read the Bible, they would learn from it to be more sub- 
missive to the authority which the State gives the master over them, says 
that the speaker " seems to be uninformed of the fact that the Scriptures are 
read in our churches every Sabbath day, and tliose very passages which in- 
culcate the relative duties of masters and servants in consequence of their 
textual, i. e. legally prescribed connections, are imre frequently read than any 
other portions of the Bible." 



116 A JOUKNEY IN THE BACK COUNTKY. 

everywhere value at a rather dangerous estimate ; according-ly, in 
the editorial columns prominence is given to the following salvo 
to the outraged sensibilities of the subscribers : 

" SLAVE AUCTION IN JAVA. 

" A brief article, with this head, appears on the fourth page of our 
paper this week. It is of a class of articles we never select^ because 
they are very often manufactured by paragraphists for a purpose, and 
are not reliable. It was put in by our printer in place of something 
we had marked out. We did not see this objectionable substitute un- 
til the outside form was worked off, and are therefore not responsible 
for it."* 

THE EDUCATION OF THE WHITE RACR, UXDKR THE NECESSI- 
TIES OF THE PRESENT SYSTEM. 

The habitual caution imposed on clergymen and public teach- 
ers must, and obviously does have an important secondary effect, 
similar to that usually attributed by Protestants to papacy, upon 
the minds of all the people, discountenancing and retarding the 
free and fearless exercise of the mind upon subjects of a religious 
or ethical nature, and the necessity of accepting and apologizing 
for the exceedingly low morality of the nominally religious slaves, 
together with the familiarity with this immorality which all classes 
acquire, renders the existence of a very elevated standard of mor- 
als among the whites almost an impossibility .f 

* Organized action for the abolition of slavery in the island of Java, has 
since been authentically reported. 

f Twice it happened to come to my knowledge that sons of a planter, by 
whom I was lodged while on tliis journey — lads of fourteen or sixteen — who 
wore supposed to have slept in the same room with me, really spent the 
niglit, till after daybreak, in the negro cabins. A southern merchant, visiting 
New York, to whom I expressed the view I had been led to form of the 
evil of slavery in this way, replied that ho thought I over-estimated the evil 
to boys on the plantations, but that it was impossible to over-estimate it in 



THE PEOPEETY ASPECT OF SLAVERY. 117 

In spite of the constant denunciations by the southern news- 
papers, of those who continued to patronize northern educational 
institutions, I never conversed with a cultivated Southerner on 
the eJ9E*ects of slavery, that he did not express a wish or intention 
to have his own children educated where they should be free 
from demoralizing association with slaves. That this association 
is almost inevitably corrupting and dangerous, is very generally 
(I may say, excepting by the extremest fanatics of South Caro- 
lina, universally) admitted. Now, although the children of a few 
wealthy men may, for a limited period, be preserved from this 
danger, the children of the million can not be. Indeed, it re- 
quires a man of some culture, and knowledge of the rest of the 
world, to appreciate the danger sufficiently to guard at all dili- 
gently against it. If habitual intercourse with a hopelessly low 
and immoral class is at all bad in its effects on young minds, the 
people of the South are, as a people, educated subject to this bad 
influence, and must bear the consequences. In other words, if 
the slaves must not be elevated, it would seem to be a necessity 
that the citizens should steadily degenerate. 

Change and grow more marked in their peculiarities with 
every generation, they certainly do, very obviously. " The 

towns. "I have personal knowledge," he continued, "that there are but 
two lads, sixteen years old, in our town, [a small market town of Alabamd,] 
who have not already had occasion to resort to remedies for the penalty of 
licentiousness." "When on my brother's plantation, just before I came 
North," said another southern merchant, on his annual visit to New York, 

" I was informed that each of his family-servants were suffering from , and 

I ascertained that each of my brother's children, girls and boys, had been in- 
formed of it and knew how and from whom it had been acquired. The ne- 
groes being their familiar companions, I tried to get my brother to send them 
North with me to school. I told liim ho might as well have them educated 
in a brothel at once, as in the way they were growing up." 



118 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTKY. 

South" has a traditional reputation for qualities and habits in 
which I think the southern people, as a whole, are to-day more 
deficient than any other nation in the world. The southern gen- 
tleman, as we ordinarily conceive him to be, is as rare a phe- 
nomenon in the South at the present day as is the old squire of 
Geoffrey Crayon in modern England. But it is unnecessary to 
argue how great must be the influence, upon people of a higher 
origin, of habitual association with a race systematically kept at 
the lowest ebb of intellect and morals. It has been elaborately 
and convincingly described by Mr. Jefferson, from his personal 
experience and observation of his neighbors. What he testified 
to be the effect upon the Virginians, in his day, of owning and 
associating with slaves, is now to be witnessed to a far greater 
and more deplorable extent throughout the whole South, but 
most deplorably in districts where the slave population predom- 
inates, and where, consequently, the action of slavery has been 
most unimpeded.* 

* Jefferson fails to enumerate, among the evils of slavery, one of its influ- 
ences which I am inclined to think as distinct and as baneful to us nationally 
as any other. How can men retain the most essential quality of true man- 
hood who daily, without remonstrance or interference, see men beaten, whose 
position renders effective resistance totally impracticable — and not only men, 
but women, too ! Is it not partially the result of this, that self-respect sel- 
dom seems to suggest to an angry man at the South that he should use any 
thing like magnanimity ? that ho sliould be careful to secure fair play for his 
opponent in a quarrel ? A gentleman of veracity, now living in the South, 
told me that among his friends he had once numbered two young men, who 
were themselves intimate friends, till one of them, taking offense at some 
foolish words uttered by the other, challenged him. A large crowd assem- 
bled to see the duel, which took place on a piece of prairie ground. The 
combatants came armed with rifles, and at the first interchange of shots the 
challenged man fell disabled by a ball in the thigh. The other, throwing 
do"wn his rifle, walked toward him, and kneeling by his side, drew a bowie 
knife, and deliberately butchered him. The crowd of bystanders not only 



THE PROPERTY ASPECT OF SLAVERY. 119 

ABSENTEEISM. 

What proportion of the larger cotton plantations are resided 
npon by their owners, I am unable to estimate with confidence. 
Of those having cabin accommodations for fifty slaves each, 
which came under my observation from the road, while I was 
traveling through the cotton districts bordering the Mississippi 
river, I think more than half were unprovided with a habitation 
which I could suppose to be the ordinary residence of a man of 
moderate wealth. In the more fertile and less healthy districts, 
I should judge that the majority of slaves are left by their own- 
ers to the nearly unlimited government of hireling overseers the 
greater part of the time. Some of these plantations are owned 
by capitalists, who reside permanently and constantly in the 
North or in Europe. Many are owned by wealthy Virginians 
and Carolinians, who reside on what arc called the " show plan- 
tations" of those States ; plantations having all the character, 
though never the name, of mere country-seats, the exhausted 
soil of which will scarcely produce sufficient to feed and clothe 
the resident slaves, whose increase is constantly removed to 
colonize these richer fields of the West. 

Still a large number are merely occasional sojourning places of 
their owners, who naturally enough prefer to live, as soon as 
they can afi'ord to do so, where the conveniences and luxuries 
belonging to a highly civilized state of society are more easily 
obtained than they can ever be in a country of large plantations. 

permitted this, but the execrable assassin still lives ia the community, has 
since married, and, as far as my informant could judge, his social position 
has been rather advanced than otherwise, from thus dealing with his enemy. 
In what other English — in what other civilized or half-civilized community 
would such cowardly atrocity have been endured ? 



^^^ A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

It is rare that a plantation would have a dozen intelhgent famil- 
ies residing within a day's ride of it. Any society that a planter 
enjoys on his estate must, thei-efore, consist in a great degree of 
permanent guests. Hence the name for hospitality of wealthy 
planters. A large plantation is necessarily a retreat from general 
society, and is used by its owner, I am inclined to think, in the 
majority of cases, in winter, as Berkshire villas and farms are in 
summer by rich people of New York and Boston. I feel assured 
that this is the case with the plantations upon the Mississippi, 
and the bayous of Louisiana, upon the Arkansas, the Yazoo, and 
the Eed rivers, and in the lowlands of Carolina and Georgia. I 
have never been on a plantation numbering fifty field-hands, the 
owner of which was accustomed to reside steadily through the 
year upon it. Still I am aware that there are many such, and 
possibly it is a minority of them who are regularly absent with 
their families from their plantations during any considerable part 
of the year. 

The summer visitors from the South to our northern water- 
ing places are, I judge, chiefly of the migratory, wealthy class. 
Such persons, it is evident, are much less influenced in their 
character and habits, by association with slaves, than any other 
at the South. Their household arrangements, and the customs of 
their house-servants must, of course, assimilate to those of culti- 
vated families in other parts of the world. The Irish gentleman 
and the Irish peasant are not more unlike, in their habits and 
manners, than some of these large planters and the great multi- 
tude of slave ow^ners. 

The number of the very wealthy is, of course, small, yet as the 
chief part of the wealth of these consists in slaves, no inconsid- 
erable proportion of all the slaves belong to men who deputize 



THE PROPERTY ASPECT OF SLAVERY. 121 

their government in a great measure to overseers. It may be 
computed, (not however with confidence), from the census of 
1850, that al)out one half the slaves of Louisiana and one third 
those of Mississippi and Arkansas, belong to estates of not less 
taan fifty slaves each, and of these, I believe, nine tenths live on 
plantations which their owners reside upon, if at all, but transiently. 
The number of plantations of this class, and the proportion of 
those employed upon them to the whole body of negroes in the 
country, is, as I have said, rapidly increasing. At the present 
prices of cotton the large grower has such advantages over the 
small, that the owner of a plantation of fifty slaves, fevorably sit- 
uated, unless he lives very recklessly, will increase in wealth so 
rapidly and possess such a credit that he may soon establish or 
purchase other plantations, so that at his death his children may 
be provided for without reducing the effective force of negroes 
on any division of his lauded estate. The excessive credit given 
to such planters by negro dealers and tradesmen renders this 
the more practicable. The higher the price of cotton the higher 
is that of negroes, and the higher the price of negroes the less is 
it in the power of men of small capital to buy them. Large 
plantations of course pay a much larger per centage on the capi- 
tal invested in them than smaller ones ; indeed the only plausible 
economical defense of slavery is simply an explanation of the ad- 
vantages of associated labor, advanta^-es which are possessed 
equally by large manufacturing establishments in which free la- 
borers are brought together and employed in the most efi"ective 
manner, and which I can sec no sufficient reason for supposing 
could not be made available for agriculture did not the good re- 
sults flowing from small holdings, on the whole, counterbalance 
them. If the present high price of cotton and the present 



122 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

scarcity of labor at the Soiitli continues, the cultivation of cotton 
on small plantations will by and by become unusual, for the same 
reason that hand-loom weaving has become unusual in the farm 
houses of Massachusetts. 

But whatever advantages large plantations have, they accrue 
only to their owners and to the buyers of cotton ; the mass of 
the white inhabitants are dispersed over a greater surface, dis- 
couraged and driven toward barbarism by them, and the blacks 
upon them, while rapidly degenerating from all that is redeeming 
in savage-life, are gaining nothing valuable of civilization. 

In the Report of the Grand Jury of Richland District, South 
Carolina, in eighteen hundred and ffty-fouVj calling for a re- 
establishment of the African slave trade,* it is observed, " as to 
the morality of this question, it is scarcely necessary for us to al- 
lude to it ; when the fact is remarked that the plantations of 
Alabama. Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas have been and are 
daily settled by the removal of slaves from the more northern of 
the slave States, and that in consequence of their having been 
raised in a more healthy climate, and in most cases trained to 
pursuits totally different, the mortality even on the best-ordered 
farms is so great that in many instances the entire income is ex- 
pended in the purchase of more slaves from the same source in 
order to replenish and keep up those plantations, while in every 
case the condition of the slave, if his life is spared, is made worse 
both physically and morally. ^' * * And if you look at the 
subject in a religious point of view, the contrast is equally strik- 
ing, for when you remove a slave from the more northern to 

* Richland District contains seven thousand white, and thirteen thousand 
slave population. The Report is pubhshed in the Charleston Standard, Oc- 
tober 12th, 1854. 



THE PROPERTY ASPECT OP SLAVERY. 123 

the more soutliern parts of the slaveliolding States, you thereby 
diminish his religious opportunities.'" 

I believe that this statement gives an exaggerated and calum- 
nious report of the general condition of the slaves upon the 
plantations of the States referred to, containing, as they did in 
1849, one third the whole slave population of the South — but I 
have not been able to resist the conviction that in the districts 
where cotton is now grown most profitably to the planters, the 
oppression and deterioration of the negro race is much more la- 
mentable than is generally supposed by those who like myself 
have been constrained, by other considerations, to accept it as a 
duty to oppose temperately but determinately the modern policy 
of the South, of Avhich this is an immediate result. Its effect 
on the white race, I still consider to be infinitely more deplorable. 

In the important work of Dr. Davy on the West Indies, I find 
the following description of the poor whites of Barbadoes, who, 
by a comparison with Sir Charles Lyell's observations, and my 
own descriptions at pages 414, and 506, of the "Seaboard Slave 
States," it may be seen correspond not only morally and intel- 
lectually, but remarkably also, in their physical appearance, with 
those of the old cotton plantation districts of the South. 

" Relative to the whites, they may be divided into two classes — the 
poor laboring portion of them constituting the majority, and the smaller 
portion of them consisting of those in easy or in affluent circumstances. 

" The former are in many respects remarkable, and not less so in ap- 
pearance than in character. Their hue and complexion are not such 
as might be expected ; their color resembles more that of the Albino 
than of an Englishman. When exposed a good deal to the sun in a 
tropical climate, it is commonly of a sickly white, or light red, not often 
of a healthy brown ; and they have generally light eyes and light-col- 
ored, sparse hair. In make they bear marks of feebleness, rather tall, 
loosely jointed, with little muscular development. In brief, their gen- 
eral appearance denotes degeneracy of corporeal frame, and reminds 
one of exotic plants vegetating in an uncongenial soil and climate. 

" In character, morally and intellectually, they show marks also of de- 
6* 



124 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

generacy, not less tlian physically. They are generally indolent and 
idle, ignorant and improvident, and often intemperate. Is it surprising, 
then, that they are poor, and objects of contempt? * * * What 
they are they have been made undoubtedly by circumstances, and this 
in the course of a few generations."* 

Similar phenomena are found in the free race, I believe, 
wherever large slave-plantations are common. Whether a gradual 
elevation of the slaves, would prove the entire destruction of the 
poor whites, as is held at the South, is certainly very doubtful. 
The effect of emancipation in Barbadoes, upon the whites, after 
Bome half dozen years only, is thus described by Dr. Davy : 

"Previous to emancipation, the planters, for every sixty acres of 
land, had to provide a man for the militia (the cliief purpose of which 
was to guard against the insurrection of their slaves). * * * He was 
supplied by his principal with a gun and ammunition, and had a house 
and two acres of land free of rent, on which he raised some vegetables 
and kept a cow, or two or three goats. Very idle himself, his wife 
worked with the needle, and got money for making clothes for the 
negroes" (p. 66). " Now that they are obhged to support themselves 
as thej can, they are vaiiously employed. Those who possess a little 
land, or who rent a few acres, cultivate chiefly those crops which re- 
quire least labor, and the smallest means, such as ground provisions, 
arrow-root, aloes, and perhaps a little cotton. I have seen one of 
them at work in a manner not a little characteristic : a hoe in one hand 
and umbrella in the other, which he held over his head, and a face- 
cloth over his face (a relief from reflected heat). Some who have 
been taught to read and write are employed as book-keepers by the 
proprietors of the larger estates, with a pa}^ of about six dollars a 
month and board and lodging, Some are chiefly occupied in fishing, 
* * * Some gain a livelihood as carters and grooms, and some as 
field-laborers, a kind of labor which, when slaves were employed as 
laborers, they would have resisted as insupportable degradation. * * * 
All of them have the aristocratic feeling in its worst sense, the class 
pride acquired in time of slavery when they were an important por- 
tion of the privileged order ; and it is marked in their manners and 
bearing, h- * * They are not to be considered as altogether irre- 
claimable" (p. 71). 

* " The West Indies, * * * founded on notes and observations colleoted 
during a three years' residence." By John Davy, M. D,, F. E. S., etc., In- 
spector General of Army Hospitals. 



CHAPTER III. 

A TRIP INTO A PART OP NORTHERN MISSISSIPPI. 

VicJcshurg^ March 18. — I arrived at this place last night, 
about suTivSet, and was told that thei'e was no hotel in the town 
except on the wharf-boat, the only house used for that purpose 
having been closed a few days ago on account of a difference of 
opinion between its owner and his tenant. 

There are no wharves on the Mississippi, or any of the south- 
ern rivers. The wharf-boat is an old steamboat, with her paddle 
boxes and machinery removed and otherwise dismantled, on 
which steamboats discharge passengers and freight. The main 
deck is used as a warehouse, and, in place of the furnace, has in 
this case a dram shop, a chandler's shop, a forwarding agency, and 
a telegraph office. Overhead, the saloon and state-rooms remain, 
and with the bar-room and clerk's office, kitchen and barber's 
shop, constitute a stationary though floating hostelry. 

Though there were fifty or more rooms, and not a dozen guests, 
I was obliged, about twelve o'clock, to admit a stranger who had 
been gambling all the evening in the saloon, to occupy the spare 
shelf of my closet. If a disposition to enjoy occasional privacy, or 
to exercise a choice in one's room-mates were a sure sympton of a 
monomania for incendiarism, it could not be more carefully 
Ihwarted than it is at all public houses in this part of the world. 

Meiwplds^ March 20. — I reached here this morning in forty- 



12G A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTKY. 

eight hours by steamboat from Vicksburg ; distance four hundred 
miles; many stoppages and against the current ; fare $10. 

Here, at the " Commercial Hotel," I am favored with an un- 
usually good-natured room-mate. He is smoking on the bed — 
our bed — now, and wants to know what my business is here, and 
whether I carry a pistol about me ; also whether I believe that it 
is n't lucky to play cards on Sundays ; which I do most strenu- 
ously, especially as this is a rainy Sunday, and his second cigar 
is nearly smoked out. 

This is a first-class hotel and has, of course, printed bills of fare, 
which, in a dearth of other literature, are not to be dropped at 
the first glance. A copy of to-day's, is presented on the opposite 
page. 

Being in a distant quarter of the establishment when a crash 
of the gong announced dinner, I did not get to the table as early 
as some others. The meal was served in a large, dreary room 
exactly like a hospital ward ; and it is a sti'iking illustration of the 
celerity with which every thing is accomplished in our young 
country, that beginning with the soup, and going on by the fish 
to the roasts, the first five dishes I inquired for, when at last I 
succeeded in arresting one of the negro boys, were " all gone," 
and as the waiter had to go to the head of the dining-room, or 
to the kitchen, to ascertain this fact upon each demand, the ma- 
jority of the company had left the table before I was served at 
all. At length I said I w^ould take any thing that was still to be 
had, and thereupon was provided immediately with some grimy 
bacon, and greasy cabbage. This I commenced eating, but I no 
sooner paused for a moment, than it was suddenly and surrepti- 
tiously removed, and its place supplied, without the expression 
of any desire on my part, with some other Memphitic chef d'oeuvre, 



A TRIP IlSrrO A PART OF NORTHERN MTSSTSSTPPI. 127 



COMMERCIAL HOTEL 



IB¥ 



(D(D)(DE^miiI.ILo 



Ml^^RCHC SO. 



SOUP. 


FRUIT. 




Almonds. 


Oyster. 


Rasins. 




Pecans. 


FISH. 
Red. 


VEGETABLES. 


Boiled Cabbage. 




Turnips. 


BOILED. 


Cold Slaugh. 




Hot slaugh. 


Jole and green. 


Pickled beets. 


Ham, 


Creole hominy. 


Corned beef. 


Crout cabbage, 


Bacon and turnips. 


Oyster plant fried. 


Codfish egg sauce. 


Parsneps gravied. 


Beef heart egg sauce. 


Stewed parsneps. 


Leg of mutton caper sauce. 


Fried cabbage. 


Barbecued rabits. 


Sweet potatoes spiced. 


Boiled tongue. 


Carrot. 




Sweat potatoes baked. 


ROAST. 


Cabbage stuffed. 
Onions, boiled. 


Veal. 


Irish potatoes creamed and mashed. 


Roast pig. 


Irish potatoes browned. 


Mnscovie Ducks. 


Boiled Shellots. 


Kentucky beef. 


Scolloped carrots. 


Mutton. 


Boiled turnips drawn butter. 


Barbecued shoat. 


White beans. 


Roast bear meat. 




Roast pork. 


PASTRY. 




Currant pies. 


ENTREES. 


Lemon custard. 




Rice pudding. 


Fricasee pork. 


Cocoanut pie. 


Calf-feet mushroom sauce. 


Cranberry pies. 


Bear sausages. 


Sliced potato pie. 


Harricane tripe. 


Chess cake. 


Stewed mutton. 


Irish pudding. 


Browned Kice. 


Orange custard. 


Calf feet madeira sauce. 


Cranberry shapes. 


Stewed turkey wine sauce. 


Greon peacli tarts. 


Giblets volivon. 


Green peach puff paste. 


Mutton omelett. 


Grape tarts. 


Beef's heart fricasecd. 


llucklc berry pies. 


Clieese macaroni. 


Pound Cake. 


Cliicken choi)s robert sauce. 


Rheubarb tarts. 


Breast chicken madeira sauce. 


Plum tarts. 


Beef kidney pickle sauce. 


Calves feet jelly. 


Cod fish bak(!d. 


Blamongc. 


Calf head wine sauce. 


Oranga jelly. 



128 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

a close investigation of whicli left me in doubt whether it was 
that denominated " sliced potato pie," or " Irish pudding." 

I congratulate myself that I have lived to see the day in which 
an agitation for reform in our great hotel system has been com- 
menced, and I trust that a Society for the Revival of Village Inns 
will ere long form one of the features of the May anniversaries. 

A stage coach conveyed the railroad passengers from the hotel 
to the station, which was a mile or two out of town. As we 
were entering the coach the driver observed with a Mephisto- 
phelean smile that we " need n't calculate we were gwine to ride 
very fur " and accordingly, as soon as we had got into the country 
he stopped and asked all the men passengers to get out and walk, 
for, he added, " it was as much as his hoses could do to draw the 
ladies and the baggage." It was quite true ; the road was so 
bad that the horses were obliged to stop frequently with the 
diminished load, and as there was a contract between myself 
and the proprietors by which, for a stipulated sum of money by 
me to them in hand duly paid, they promised to convey me, as 
well as my little baggage, I thought it would have been no more 
than honest if they had looked out beforehand to have either a 
stronger team, or a better road, provided. As is the custom 
of our country, however, we allowed ourselves to be thus robbed 
and forced to tiresome labor with great good nature, and waded 
along through mud ankle-deep, joking with the driver and ready 
to put our shoulders to the wheels if it should be necessary. 
Two pieces of our baggage were jerked oft' in heavy lurches of 
the coach ; the owners picked them up and carried them on their 
shoulders till the horses stopped to ])reathe again. The train of 
course had waited for us, and it continued to wait until another 
coach arrived, when it started twenty minutes behind time. 



A TRIP INTO NORTHERN MISSISSirPT. 129 

After some forty miles of rail, nine of iis were stowed away in 
another stage coach. The road was bad, the weather foul. We 
proceeded slowly, were often in imminent danger of being upset, 
and once were all obliged to get out and help the horses draw the 
coach out of a slough ; but with smoking, and the occasional 
circulation of a small black bottle, and a general disposition to 
be as comfortable as circumstances would allow, four hours ot 
stage coaching proved less fatiguing than one of the smoky rail- 
cars. 

Among the passengers was a " Judge," resident in the vicinity, 
portly, dignified and well informed ; and a young man, who was 
a personal friend of the member of Congress from the district, 
and who, as he informed me, had, through the influence of this 
friend, a promise from the President of honorable and lucrative 
employment under government. He was known to all the 
other passengers, and hailed by every one on the road-side, by 
the title of Colonel. The Judge was ready to converse about 
the country through wliich we were passing, and wliile perfectly 
aware, as no one else seemed to be, that it bore any thing but 
an appearance of prosperity or attractiveness to a stranger, he 
assured me that it was really improving in all respects quite rap- 
idly. There were few large plantations, but many small planters 
or rather farmers, for cotton, though the principal source of cash 
income, was much less exclusively an object of attention than in 
the more southern parts of the State. A larger space vras occu- 
pied by the maize and grain crops. There were not a few small 
fields of wheat. In the afternoon, when only the Colonel and 
myself were with him, the Judge talked about slavery in a can- 
did and liberal spirit. At present prices, he said, nobody could 
afford to own slaves, unless he could engage them almost exclu- 



ISO A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

sively in cotton-gro"\ving. It was nndoubtedly a great injury to 
a region like this, v.liich was not altogether well adapted to 
cotton, to be in the midst of a slaveholding country, for it pre- 
vented efficient free labor. A good deal of cotton was neverthe- 
less grown hereabouts by white labor — by poor men who plant- 
ed an acre or two, and worked it themselves, getting the planters 
to gin and press it for them. It was not at all uncommon for 
men to begin in this way and soon purchase negroes on credit, 
and eventually become rich men. Most of the plantations in 
this vicinity, indeed, belonged to men who had come into the 
country with nothing within twenty years. Once a man got a 
good start with negroes, unless the luck was much against him, 
nothing but his own folly could prevent his becoming rich. The 
increase of his negro property by births, if he took good care of 
it, must, in a few years, make him independent. The worst thing, 
and the most difficult to remedy, was the deplorable ignorance 
which prevailed. Latterly, however, people were taking more 
pride in the education of their children. Some excellent schools 
had been established, the teachers generally from the North, and 
a great many children were sent to board in the villages — coun- 
ty-seats — to attend them. This was especially true of girls, 
who liked to live in the villages rather than on the plantations. 
There was more difficulty in making boys attend school, until, at 
least, they were too old to get much good from it. 

The " Colonel" was a rough, merry, good-hearted, simple- 
minded man, and kept all the would-be sober-sides of our coach 
body, in irrepressible laughter with queer observations on pass- 
ing occurrences, anecdotes and comic songs. It must be con- 
fessed that there is no charge which the enemies of the theater 
bring against the stage, that was not duly illustrated, and tliat 



A TRIP INTO XORTIIERX MISSISSIPPI. 131 

with a broadness which the taste of a metropolitan audience would 

scarcely peniiit. Had Doctor and Doctor been with 

me they would thereafter for ever have denied themselves, and dis- 
countenanced in others, the use of such a meaus of travel. The 
Colonel, notwithstanding, was of a most obliging disposition, and 
having ascertained in what direction I was going, enumerated 
at least a dozen families on the road, within some hundred miles, 
whom he invited me to visit, assuring me that I should find 
pretty girls in all of them, and a warm welcome, if I mentioned 
his name. 

He told the Judge that his bar-bill on the boat, coming up 
from New Orleans, was forty dollars — seventeen dollars the first 
niofht. But he had made money — had won forty dollars of one 
gentleman. He confessed, however, that he had lost fifteen by 
another, " but he saw how he did it. He did not want to accuse 
him publicly, but he saw it and he purposed to write to him and 
tell him of it. He did not mean to insult the gentleman, only 
he did not want to have him think that he was so green as not 
to know how he did it." 

While stopping for dinner at a village inn, a young man came 
in to the room where we all were, and asked the coachman what 
was to be paid for a trunk which had been brought for him 
The coachman said the charge would be a dollar, which the 
young man thought excessive. The coachman denied that it 
was so, said that it was what he had often been paid ; he should 
not take less. The young man finally agreed to wait for the de- 
cision of the proprietor of the line. There was a woman in the 
room ; I noticed no loud words or angry tones, and had not sup- 
posed that there was the slightest excitement. I observed, how- 
ever, that there was a profound silence for a minute afterwards. 



132 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

which was interrupted by a jocose remark of the coachman about 
the dehay of our dinner. Soon after we reentered the coach, the 
Colonel referred to the trunk owner, in a contemptuous manner. 
The Judge replied in a similar tone. " If I had been in the 
driver's place, I should have killed him, sure," said the Colonel. 
With great surprise, I ventured to ask for what reason. " Did 
not you see the fellow put his hand to his breast when the driver 
denied that he had ever taken less than a dollar for bringing a 
trunk from Memphis ?" 

" No, I did not ; but what of it ?" 

" AVhy, he meant to frighten the driver, of course." 
■ " You think he had a knife in his breast ?" 

" Of course he had, sir." 

" But you would n't kill him for that, I suppose ?" 

"When a man threatens to kill me, you wouldn't have me 
wait for him to do it, would you, sir ?" 

The roads continued very heavy ; some one remarked, " There's 
been a heap of rain lately," and rain still kept falling. We passed 
a number of cotton wagons which had stopped in the road ; 
the cattle had been turned . out and had strayed off into the 
woods, and the drivers lay under the tilts asleep on straw. 

The Colonel said this sight reminded him of his old 'camp- 
meeting days, lie used to be very fond of going to camp meet- 
ings. " I used to go first for fun, and oh ! Lord, haint I had 
some fun at camp meetings ? But after a while I got a convic- 
tion — need n't laugh, gentlemen. I tell you it was sober business 
for me. I'll never make fun of that. The truth just is, I am a 
melancholy case ; I thought I was a pious man once, I did — I'm 
damned if I did n't. Do n't langh at what I say, now ; I do n't 
want fun made of that ; I give you my word I experienced re- 



A TRIP INTO NORTHERN MISSISSIPPI. 133 

ligion, and I used to go to the meetings with as much sincerity 
and soberness as anybody could. That was the time 1 learned to 
sing — learned to pray too, I did ; could pray right smart. I did 
think I was a converted man, but of course, I aint, and I 'spose 
'twarnt the right sort, and I do n't reckon I shall have another 
chance. A gentleman has a right to make the most of this life, 
when he can't calculate on any thing better than roasting in the 
next. Aint that so Judge ? I reckon so. You must n't think 
hard of me, if I do talk wicked some. Can't help it." 

So common is this sort of effervescing mixture of impiety and 
theology at the South, I doubt if the Colonel was not perfectly 
sincere, though probably not wholly unconscious of drollery, in 
these remarks. At a Sunday dinner-table, at a village inn, two 
or three men took seats, who had, as they said, " been to the 
preachin'." A child had been baptized, and the pi'caching had 
been a defense of infant baptism. 

" I'm damned," said one, " ef he teched on the primary signif- 
icance of baptism, at all — buryin' with Jesus.'' 

" They wus the weakest arguments for sprinklin' that ever I 
heerd," said another — a hot, red-faced, corpulent man — " and his 
sermon was two hours long, for when he stopped I looked at my 
watch. I thought it should be a lesson to me, for I could n't help 
going to sleep. Says I to Uncle John, says I — he sot next to 
me, and I whispered to him — says I, ' When he gits to Buidcer 
Hill, you wake me up,' for I see he was bound to go clean back 
to the beginnin' of things." 

"Uncle John is an Episcopalian, aint he ?" 
" Yes." 

" Well, there aint no religion in that, no how." 
" No there aint." 



134 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

" Well now, you would n't think it, but I've studied into re- 
ligion a heap in my life." 

" Do n't seem to have done you much good." 

" No it haint, not yet, but I've studied into it, and I know 
what it is." 

" There aint but one way, Benny." 

" I know it." 

" Repent of your sins, and believe in Christ, and be immersed, 
that's all." 

" I know it." 

" Well, I hope the Lord '11 bring you to it, 'fore you die." 

" Reckon he will — hope so, sure." 

*' You would n't hardly think that fat man was a preacher 
himself, would you ?" said the landlady to me, after they left. 

" Certainlf not." 

" He is, though, but I do n't think much of that sort," and the 
landlady immediately began to describe to me the religious his- 
tory of the neighborhood. It was some different here, she said, 
she reckoned, in reply to a remark of mine, from what it was at 
the North. Most respectable people became pious here before 
they got to be very old, especially ladies. Young ladies were 
always gay and went to balls till they were near twenty years 
old, but from eighteen to twenty-five they generally got religion, 
and then they stopped right short and never danced or carried 
on any after that. Sometimes it was n't till after they were mar- 
ried, but there were n't many ladies who had children that warn't 
pious. She herself was an exception, for she had three children 
and had not got religion yet ; sometimes she was frightened to 
think how old she was — her children growing up about her ; but 
she did so like dancing — she hoped her turn would come — she 



A TRIP INTO NORTHERN MISSISSIPPI. 135 

knew it would — slie had a pious and praying mother, and she 
reckoned her prayers must be heard, and so on. 

I was forced by the stage arrangements to travel night and day. 
The Colonel told me that I should be able to get a good supper 
at a house where the coach was to stop about midnight—" good 
honest fried bacon, and hot Christian corn-bread— nothing like it to 
fill a man up and make him feel righteous. You get a heap bet- 
ter living up in this country than you can at the St. Charles, for 
all the fuss they make about it. It's lucky you'll have something 
better to travel on to-night than them French friterzeed Dutch 

flabbergasted hell-fixins : for you'll have the " (another 

most extraordinary series of imprecations on the road over which 
I was to travel). 

Before dark all my companions left me, and in their place I 
had but one, a young gentleman with whom I soon became very 
intimately acquainted. He was seventeen years old, so he said ; 
he looked older; and the son of a planter in the "Yazoo bot- 
toms." The last year he had " follered overseein' " on his fath- 
er's plantation, but he was bound for Tennessee, now, to go to an 
academy, where he could learn geography. There was a school 
near home at which he had studied reading and writing and ci- 
phering, but he thought a gentleman ought to have some knowl- 
edge of geography. At ten o'clock the next morning the stage 
coach having progressed at the rate of exactly two miles and a 
half an hour, for the previous sixteen hours, during which time 
we had been fasting, the supper-house, which we should have 
reached before midnight, was still ten miles ahead, the driver 
sulky and refusing to stop until we reached it. We had been 
pounded till we ached in every muscle. I had had no sleep 
since I left Memphis. We were passing over a hill country 



136 A JOUKNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

wliicli sometimes appeared to be quite thickly inhabited, yet 
mainly still covered with a pine forest, through which the wind 
moaned lugubriously. 

I had been induced to make this trip, in no slight degree 
by reading the following description in a statistical article of 
DeBow's Review : 

'' The settling of this region is one among the many remarkable 
events in the history of tlie rise of the western States. Fifteen years 
ago it w^as an Indian wilderness, and now it has reached and passed in 
its population other portions of the State of ten times its age, and this 
population, too, one of the finest in all the West. Great attention has 
been given to schools and educatiow, and here, [at Memphis,] has been 
located the University of Mississippi ; so amply endow'ed by the State, 
and now just going into operation under the auspices of some of the 
ablest professors from the eastern colleges. There is no overgrown 
wealth among them, and yet no squahd poverty ; the people being 
generally comfortable, substantial, and independent farmers. Con- 
sidering its climate, soil, wealth, and general character of its inhab- 
itants, I should think no more desn^able or delightful residence could 
be found than among the hills and sunny valleys of the Chickasaw 
Cession."* 

And here among the hills of this Paradise of the South-Wcst, 
we were, Yazoo and I — he, savagely hungry, as may be guessed 
from his observations upon " the finest people of the AVcst," among 
whose cabins in the pine-w^ood, toiled our stage-coach. 

The whole art of driving was directed to the discovery of a pas- 
sage for the coach among the trees and through the fields, where 
there were fields, adjoining the road — the road itself being impass- 
able. Occasionally, when the coachman, during the night, found it 
necessary, owing to the thickness of the forest on each side, to take 
to the road, he would first leave the coach and make a survey with 
his lantern, sounding the ruts of the cotton-wagons, and finally 
marking out a channel by guiding-stakes which he cut from the 

* See "Resources;" article, " Mississippi," eto. 



A TRIP INTO NORTHERN MISSISSIPPI. 137 

underwood with a hatchet, usually carried in the holster. If 
after diligent sounding, he found no passage sufficiently shallow, 
he would sometimes spend half an hour in preparing one, bring- 
ing rails from the nearest fence, or cutting bruslnvood for the 
purpose. We were but once or twice during the night called 
upon to leave the coach, or to assist in road-making, and my 
companion frequently expressed his gratitude for this — gratitude 
not to the driver, but to Providence, who had made a country, as 
he thought, so unusually well adapted for stage coaching. The 
night before, he had been on a much worse road, and was half 
the time, with numerous other passengers, engaged in bringing 
rails, and prying the coach out of sloughs. They had been 
obliged to keep on the track, because the water was up over the 
adjoining country. Where the wooden causeway had floated off, 
they had passed through w^ater so deep that it entered the coach 
body. With our road of to-day, theu, he could only express satis- 
faction ; not so with the residents upon it. " Look at 'em", he 
would say, "Just look at 'em ! AVhat's the use of such people's 
living ? 'pears to me I'd die if I could n't live better 'n that. When 
I get to be representative, I'm going to have a law made that all 
such kind of men shall be took up by the State and sent to the 
penitentiary, to make 'em work and earn something to support 
their families. I pity the women ; I haint nuthin agin them ; they 
work hard enough, I know ; but the men — I know how 'tis. 
They just hang around groceries and spend all the money they 
can get — ^just go round and live on other people, and play keerds, 
a-nd only go home to nights ; and the poor women, they hev to 
live how they ken." 

"Do you think it's so ? It is strange we see no men — only 
women and children." 



138 A. JOUT7NEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

" Tell you they 're oft", gettin' a dinner out o' somebody. Tell 
you, I know it 's so. It 's the way all these people do. Why, 
there's one poor man I know, that lives in a neighborhood of 
poor men, down our way, and he's right industrious, but he 
can't get rich and he never ken, cause all these other poor men 
live on him." 

" What do you mean ? Do they all drop in about dinner 
time ?" 

" No, not all on 'em, but some on 'em every day. And they 
keep borrowin' things of him. He haint spunk enough to in- 
sult 'em. If he 'd just move into a rich neighborhood and jest 
be a little sassy and not keer so much about what folks said of 
him, he'd get rich ; never knew a man that was industrious and 
sassy in this country that did n't get rich, quick, and get niggers 
to do his work for him. Anybody ken that 's smart. Thar 's 
whar they tried to raise some corn. Warn't no corn grew thar ; 
that 's sartin. Wonder what they live on ? See the stalks. They 
never made no corn. Plowed right down the hill ! Did you 
ever see any thing like it ? As if this sile warn't poor enough al- 
ready. There now. Just the same. Only look at 'em ! 'Pears like 
they never see a stage afore. This ain't the right road, the way 
they look at us. No, sartin, they never see a stage. Lord 
God ! see the babies. They never see a stage afore. No, the 
stage never went by here afore, I know. This damned driver 's 
just taken us round this way to show off" what he can do and 
pass away the time before breakfast. Could n't get no breakfast 
here if he would stop — less we ate a baby. That's right! 
step out where you ken see her good ; prehaps you'll never see 
a stage again ; better look now, right sharp. Yes, oh yes, sar- 
tin ; fetch out all the babies. Haint you go no more ? Well, I 



A TKIP INTO NORTHERN MISSISSIPPI. 139 

should hope not. Now, what is the use of so many babies ? 
That 's the worst on 't. I'd get married to-morrow if I was n't 
sure I'd hcv babies. I hate babies, can't bear 'em round me and 
won't hev 'em. I would like to be married. I know several 
gals I'd many if 'twarn't for that. AVell, it 's a fact. Just so. I 
hate the squalling things. I know I was born a baby, but I 
could n't help it, could I ? I wish I had n't been. I hate the 
squallin' things. If I had to hev a baby round me I should kill it." 

" If you had a baby of your own, you 'd feel differently about 
it." 

" That 's what they tell me. I s'pose I should, but I do n't 
want to feel differently. I hate 'em. I hate 'em." 

The coach stopped at length. We got out and found our- 
selves on the bank of an overflowed brook. A part of the 
bridge was broken up, the driver declared it impossible to ford 
the stream, and said he should return to the shanty, four miles 
back, at which we had last changed horses. We persuaded him 
to take one of his horses from the team and let us see if we could 
not get across. I succeeded in doing this without diflBculty, 
and turning the horse loose he returned. The driver, however, 
was still afraid to try to ford the stream with the coach and mails, 
and after trying our best to persuade him, I told him if he re- 
turned he should do it without me, hoping he would be shamed 
out of his pusillanimity. Yazoo joined me, but the driver having 
again recovered the horse upon which he had forded the stream, 
turned about and drove back. We pushed on, and after walking 
a few miles, came to a neat, new house, with a cluster of old 
cabins about it. It was much the most comfortable establish- 
ment we had seen during the day. Truly a " sunny valley" 
home of northern Mississippi. We entered quietly, and were re- 



140 A JOUKNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

ceived hj two women who were spinning in a room with three 
outside doors all open, though a fine fire was burning, merely to 
warm the room, in a large fireplace, within. Upon our asking 
if we could have breakfast prepared for us, one of the women 
went to the door and gave orders to a negro, and in a moment 
after, we saw six or seven black boys and girls chasing and club- 
bing a hen round the yard for our benefit. I regret to add that 
they did not succeed in making her tender. At twelve o'clock we 
breakfasted, and were then accommodated with a bed, upon 
which we slept together for several hours. When I awoke I 
walked out to look at the premises. 

The house was half a dozen rods from the liigh road, with a 
square yard all about it, in one corner of which was a small 
enclosure for stock, and a log stable and corn-crib. There were 
also three negro cabins ; one before the house, and two behind 
it. The house was a neat building of logs, boarded over 
and painted on the outside. On the inside, the logs were neatly 
hewn to a plane face, and exposed. One of the lower rooms 
contained a bed, and but little other furniture ; the other was the 
common family apartment, but also was furnished with a bed. 
A door opened into another smaller log house in the rear, in 
which Avere two rooms — one of them the family dining-room ; 
the other the kitchen. Behind this was still another log erec- 
tion, fifteen feet square, which was the smoke-house, and in which 
a great store of bacon was kept. The negro cabins were small, 
dilapidated and dingy ; the walls were not chinked, and there 
were no windows — which, indeed, would have been a superfluous 
luxury, for there were spaces of several inches between the logs, 
through which there was unobstructed vision. The furniture in 
the cabins was of the simplest and rudest imaginable kind, tw^o or 



A TRIP INTO NORTHERN MISSISSIPPI. 141 

three beds with dirty clothing upon them, a chest, a wooden 
stool or two, made with an ax, and some earthenware and cook- 
ing apparatus. Every thing within the cabins was colored black 
by smoke. The chimneys of both the house and the cabins 
w^ere built of splinters and clay, and on the outer side of the walls. 
At the door of each cabin were literally "heaps" of babies and 
puppies, and behind or beside it a pig-stye and poultry coop, 
a ley-tub and quantities of home-carded cotton placed upon 
boards to bleach. Within each of them was a woman or two, 
spinning with the old-fashioned great wheel, and in the kitchen 
another woman was weaving coarse cotton shirtings with the an- 
cient rude hand-loom. The mistress herself was spinning in the 
living-room, and asked, when we had grown acquainted, what 
women at the North could find to do, and how they could ever 
pass the time, when they gave up spinning and weaving. She 
made the common every-day clothing for all her family and her 
servants. They only bought a few " store-goods" for their 
" dress-up" clothes. She kept the negro girls spinning all 
through the winter, and at all times when they were not needed 
in the field. She supposed they would begin to plant corn now 
in a few days, and then the girls would go to work out of doors. 
I noticed that all the bed-clothing, the towels, curtains, etc., in 
the house, were of homespun. 

The proprietor, who had been absent on a fishing excursion, 
during the day, returned at dusk. He was a man of the fat, 
slow-and-easy style, and proved to be good-natured, talkative and 
communicative. lie had bought the tract of land he now occu- 
pied, and moved upon it about ten years before. lie had made 
a large clearing, and could now sell it for a good deal more than 
he cave for it. He intended to sell whenever he could get a 



142 A JOUENEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

good offer, and move on West. It was the best land in this part 
of the country, and he had got it well fenced, and put up a nice 
house : there were a great many people that like to have these 
things done for them in advance — and he thought he should not 
have to wait long for a purchaser. He liked himself to be clear- 
ing land, and it was getting too close settled about here to suit 
him. He did not have much to do but to hunt and fish, and the 
game was getting so scarce it was too much trouble to go after 
it. He did not think there were so many cat in the creek as 
there used to be either, but there were more gar-fish. When he 
first bought this land he was not worth much — had to run in 
debt — had n't but three negroes. Now, he was pretty much out 
of debt and owned twenty negroes, seven of them prime field- 
hands, and he reckoned I had not seen a better lot anywhere. 

During the evening, all the cabins were illuminated by great 
fires, and, looking into one of them, I saw a very picturesque 
family group ; a man sat on the ground making a basket, a wo- 
man lounged on a chest in the chimney corner smoking a pipe, 
and a boy and two girls sat in a bed which had been drawn up 
opposite to her, completing the fireside circle. They were talk- 
ing and laughing cheerfully. 

The next morning when I turned out I found Yazoo looking 
with the eye of a connoisseur at the seven prime field-hands, 
who at half past seven were just starting ofl' with hoes and axes 
for their day's work. As I approached him, he exclaimed with 
enthusiasm : 

" Are n't them a right keen lookin' lot of niggers ?" 

And our host soon after coming out, he immediately walked 
up to him, saying : 

" Why, fri'^.nd, them yer niggers o' yourn would be good for 



A TRIP INTO NORTHERN MISSISSIPPI. 143 

seventy bales of cotton, if you 'd move down into our conn- 
try." 

Their owner was perfectly aware of their vakie, and said every 
thing good of them. 

" There 's something ruther singlar, too, about my niggers ; I 
do n't know as I ever see any thing like it anywhere else." 

" How so, sir ?" 

" Well, I reckon it »s my way o' treatin' 'em, much as any thing. 
I never hev no difficulty with 'em. Hen't licked a nigger in five 
year, 'cept maybe sprouting some of the young ones sometimes. 
Fact, my niggers never want no lookin' arter ; they jus tek ker 
o' themselves. Fact, they do tek a greater interest in the crops 
than I do myself. There 's another thing — I 'spose 'twill sur- 
prise you — there ent one of my niggers but what can read ; read 
good, too — better 'n I can, at any rate." 

" How did they learn ?" 

" Tauo-ht themselves. I b'lieve there was one on 'em that I 
bought, that could read, and he taught all the rest. But niggers 
is mighty apt at larnin', a heap more 'n white folks is." 

I said that this was contrary to the generally received opin- 
ion. 

" Well, now, let me tell you," he continued ; " I had a boy to 
work, when I was buildin', and my boys jus teachin' him night 
times and such, he waru't here more 'n three months, and he 
larned to read as well as any man I ever hecrd, and I know he 
did n't know his letters when he come here. It did n't seem to 
me any white man could have done that ; does it to you, now ?" 

"How old was he?" 

" Warn't more'n seventeen, I reckon." 

"How do they get books — do you get them for them ?" 



144 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY 

" Oh, no ; get 'em for tliemselves." 

" How ?" 

*' Buy 'em." 

" How do they get the mouey ?" 

" Earn it." 

" How ?" 

" By their own work. I tell you my niggers have got more 
money 'n I hev." 

" What kind of books do they get ?" 

"Religious kind a books ginerally — these stories ; and some of 
them will buy novels, I believe. They wou't let on to that, but 
I expect they do it." 

They bought them of peddlers. I inquired about the law to 
prevent negroes reading, and asked if it allowed books to be sold 
to negroes. He had never heard of any such law — did n't be- 
lieve there was any. The Yazoo man said there was such a law 
in his country. Negroes never had any thing to read there. I 
asked our host if his negroes were religious, as their choice of 
works would have indicated. 

"Yes; all on 'em, I reckon. Don't s'pose you'll believe it, 
but I tell you it 's a fact ; I haint heerd a swear on this place for 
a twelvemonth. They keep the Lord's day, too, right tight, in 
gineral." 

" Our niggers is mighty wicked down in Yallerbush county," 
said my companion ; " they dance ." 

" Dance on Sunday ?" I asked. 

" Oh, no, we do n't allow that." 

"What do they do then — go to meeting?" 

"Why, Sundays they sleep mostly; they've been at work 
hard all the week, you know, and Sundays they stay in their 



A TRIP INTO NORTHERN MISSISSIPPI. 145 

cabins and sleep and talk to eacli other. There 's so many of 
'em together they do n't \vant to go visiting off the place."' 

"Are your negroes Baptists or Methodists ?" I inquired of our 
host. 

" All Baptists ; nigo-ers allers want to be ducked, you know. 
They ain't content to be just titch'd with water; they must be 
ducked in all over. There was two niggers jined the Methodists 
up here last summer, and they made the minister put 'em into 
the branch ; they would n't jine 'less he 'd duck 'em." 

" The Bible says baptize, too," observed Yazoo. 

" AVell, they think they must be ducked all under, or 't ain't 
no good." 

" Do they go to meeting ?" 

" Yes, they hev a meeting among themselves." 

" And a preacher ?" 

" Yes ; a nigger preacher." 

" Our niggers is mighty wicked ; they dance !" repeated Ya- 
zoo. 

"Do you consider dancing so very wicked, then ?" I asked. 

" Well, I do n't account so myself, as I know on, but they do 
you know — the pious people, all kinds, except the 'Piscopers ; 
some o' them, they do dance themselves, I believe. Do you 
dance in your country ?" 

"Yes." 

" What sort of dances — cotillions and reels ?" 

" Yes ; what do you ?" 

" Well, we dance cotillions and reels too, and we dance on a 
plank; that's the kind of dancin' I like best." 

" How is it done ?" 

" Why, do n't you know that ? You stand face to face with 



146 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

your partner on a plank and keep a dancin'. Put the plank up 
on two barrel heads, so it 'Jl kind o' spring. At some of our 
parties — that 's among common kind o' people, jou know — it 's 
great fun. They dance as fast as they can, and the folks all 
stand round and holler, * Keep it up^ John P ' Go it, Nance /' 
* Do nH give it up so /' ' Old Virginny never tii-e P ' Heel and 
toe, ketch a fire P and such kind of observations, and clap and 
stamp 'em." 

" Do your negroes dance much ?" 

" Yes, they are mighty fond on 't. Saturday night they dance 
all night, and Sunday nights too. Daytime they sleep and rest 
themselves, and Sunday nights we let 'em dance and sing if they 
want. It does 'em good, you know, to enjoy theirselves." 

''They dance to the banjo, I suppose ?" 

" Banjos and violins ; some of 'em has got violins." 

" I like to hear negroes sing," said I. 

" Niggers is allers good singers nat'rally," said our host. " I 
reckon they got better lungs than white folks, they hev such 
powerful voices." 

We were sitting at this time on the rail fence at the corner of 
a hog-pen and a large, half-cleared field. In that part of this 
field nearest the house, among the old stumps, twenty or thirty 
small fruit trees had been planted. I asked what sorts they were. 

" I do n't know— good kinds tho', I expect ; I bought 'em for 
that at any rate." 

" Where did you buy them ?" 

" I bought 'em of a feller that came a peddlin' round here last 
fall ; he said I'd find 'em good." 

" What did you pay for them ?" 

" A bit apiece." 



A TRIP INTO NORTHERN MISSISSIPPI. 147 

" That 's very cheap, if they 're good for any thing ; you arc sure 
they 're grafted, arn't you ?" 

" Only by what he said — he said they was grafted kinds. I've 
got a paper in the housen he gin me, tells about 'em ; leastways, 
he said it did. They 's the curosest kinds of trees printed into it 
you ever heerd on. But I did not buy none, only the fruit kinds.'* 

Getting off the fence I began to pick about the roots of one of 
them with my pocket-knife. After exposing the trunk for five or 
six inches below the surface, I said, "You've planted these too 
deep, if they 're all like this. You should have the ground dished 
about it or it won't grow\" I tried another, and after picking 
some minutes without finding any signs of the " collar," I asked 
if they had all been planted so deeply. 

" I do n't know — I told the boys to put 'em in about two feet, 
and I expect they did, for they fancied to have apple-trees 
growin'." 

The catalogue of the tree-peddler, which afterwards came into 
my possession, quite justified the opinion my host expressed 
of the kinds of trees described in it. The reader shall judge 
for himself, and I assure him that the following is a literal 
transcript of it, omitting the sections headed "Ancebus new," 
"Camelias," " Rhododendrums," " Bubbs Paeony," "Rosicrs," 
" Wind's flowers of the greatest scarcity," " Bulbous Roots, and 
of various kinds of graines." 

7* 



148 



A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 



iIPB(BniiIL, (Dii^iiIL(n)(BI!JE 

OF THE PLANTS, FLOWERS, SHRUBS IMPORTED BY 

K O U S S E T 

MEMBER OF SEVERAL SOCIETIES. 

At PARIS (France), boulevard of Hopital, and at CHAMBERY, faubourg de 

Mac he. 



Mr Rousset beg to inform they are arrived in this town , with a large as- 
sortment of the most rare vegetable plants, either flowerd on fruit bearer, 
onion bulbous, seeds, &c, &c. Price very moderate. 

Their stoi-e is situated 



CHOIX D'AliBRKS A FllUr 

Choice of Fruit Trees. 
Pear Trees. 

1 Good Louisa from Avranche. 

2 "Winter's Perfume. 
8 Saint-John-in-Iron. 

4 Leon-the-Clcrc. 

5 Bergamot from Ensland. 

6 Duchess of Angouleme. 

7 Goulu-Morceaii. 

8 Tarquiii Pear. 

9 Summer's Good (large) Christian. 

10 Good Turkisk Christian. 

11 Grey (large) Beurre. 

12 Eo/al Beurre from England. 



1 Bon-Chretien d'ete. 

2 — d"hiver. 

3 — dc Paque. 

4 Doyenne blanc. 

5 Duchesse d' Angora-New. 

6 Belle Angevine'. fondante. 

7 Crassane d hiver. 

8 Louise dOrleans. sucre. 

9 Double fleur h'ltif. 
10 Augulique de Tour. 

1 Borgamotte de Milan, gros. 

2 — d'Aiencon, tres-gros. 
8 Beurre gris d'hiver. 

4 — Amanlis. 

5 — d'llardenpont, precoce. 

6 Fortune, fondant. 

7 Josephine, chair fine. 

8 Martin-sec. sucre. 

9 Mcssire, gris. 

10 Muscat d'ete, 

11 Doyenne d'automne. 

12 — d'hiver, sucrfe. 
18 Virgouleuse foudonte. 

14 Bezy-Lamotte. 

15 Gro's-Blanquet. 

Apples 

1 Kenetto of Spain. 

2 — Green. 



8 Apple Coin. 

4 — Friette. 

5 Calville, white, winter's fruit. 

6 — red, autumn's fruit. 

7 — rod, winter's fruit. 

8 Violet or of the Four-Taste. 

9 Penette from England, or Gold Apple. 

1 Golded Renette, yellow, backwards plant. 

11 White — of a L;reat perfume. 

12 Eenette, red, winter's fruit. 



1 Renette, yellow, hearly fruit. 

2 — grey, very delicate. 
8 — Princess noble. 

4 Apple d'Api. 

5 — d'Eve. 

6 "Winter's Postophe. 

7 Plein gney fenouillet. 

8 Eenette franc. 

9 — of St. Laurent. 

10 Sammers Numbourg. 

11 Belle du Havre. 

12 Belle HolJandaise. 



1 Yiolet Apple or of the 4 taste; the fruit. 

may by preserved 2 years. 

2 Princess Renette, of a gold yellow, 

spotted with red of a delicious taste. 

3 "White Renette from Canada, of which 

the skin is lite scales strange by its 
size. 

4 The Cythere Apple. 

5 The Caynoite Apple. 

6 Apple Trees with double flowers. 

Blooms twice a year, Camtlia's 
flowers like. 
106 others kinds of Apples of the newest 
choice. 

Apricots. 

1 The Ladie's Apricots. 

2 The Peack Apricots. 
8 The Royal Apricots. 

4 The Gros Muscg Apricots. 

5 The Pourret Apricots. 

6 Portugal Apricots. 



A TRIP INTO NOUTTIERX TiriSSISSIPPI. 



149 



7 Apricats monstruous from America, of 
a gold yellow, of an enormous size, 
and of the pine's apple taste 



Peach Tuee3. 

1 Peach Grossc Mignonne. 

2 — Bcllo Beauty. 

3 — Godess. 

4 _ Beautv of Paris. 

5 _ from Naples ! said without stone. 

6 Brugnon, muse taste. 

7 Admirable; Belle of Yitry. 

8 The Large Koyal. 
]S[<)ustruousPavie. 

10 The Cardinal, very forward. 

11 Goo<l Workman. 

12 Letitia Bonaparte. _ 

13 The Prince's Peach, melting in the 

mouth . 

14 The Prince's Peach from Africa, with 

large white fruit weighing pound 
and half each; hcarly, new kind 
50 others new kinds of Peach Trees. 



Plum Tukks. 

1 Plum Lamorto 

2 Surpasse Monsieur. 

3 Damas with muse taste. 

4 Eoyale of Tonrs. 

5 Green Gage, of a violet colour. 

6 Large Mirabelle. 

7 Green Gage, golded. 

8 Imperial, of a violet co'our. 

9 Empress, of a white colour. 

10 Ste-Catherinc, zellow, suger taste like. 



Chekry Tuees. 

1 Cherry from the North. 

2 — Poval, gives from IS to ^0 

cherries weihing one pound, 4 dif- 
ferentes kinds. 

3 Cherry Reina llortensc. 

4 — Montmorencv. 

5 _ with Ihort stalk (Gros-Gobet), 
(5 — Le Mercier. 

7 — Four for a pound. 
S Cherry Beauty of (.'hoicy. 
9 — The English. 

10 Cherry-Duck 

11 — Crt'ole Avith bunches. 

12 — Bi^arrot or monster of new 

Mezel. 



CuuuANT TnicKS. I 

1 Currant Three with red bunches (grapes). 

2 _ — with white bunches. 

8 Gooseberriesof: St choice. (P.aspherries) 

six kinds of ali'-gery. 
4 New kind of currants, of which the 

grapes are as big as the wine grapes. 



Grapes "Wines. 

1 Chasselas of Fontaincbleau, with largo 

gold grains. 

2 Chasselas, black very good. 

a — red, of muse te.'--te. 

4 Verdal, the swetest and finest fruit for 

desert. 

5 White Muscadine grape, or of Fronti- 

gnan. 
Muscat of Aloxandrie, muse taste. 
7 Cornichon, wliite, sweet sugar like, very 

good. 
S Tokay, red and white. 
9 Yerjiis from Bordeaux, large yellow fruit. 

10 b^t. Peter lartjc and fine fruit. 

11 Eed Musoailine Graper. 

12 Paisin of Malaga. 

13 The Celestial Wine Mree, or the am 

phibious grain, weighing 2 ounces, 
the grain of a red and violet colour. 



New Strawuerky Plants. 

1 The Strawberry Cremont. 

2 — — the Queen. 

3 — — monster, new kind. 

4 — — from Cllili. 

5 Caperon of a raspberry taste. 

6 Scarlat from Venose, very forward plant. 

7 Prince Albert, fruit of very greatz 

beauty. 

8 Grinslon colalant, very large. 

9 Eosc-Bcrry, big fruit and of a long form. 

10 Bath cher.v, very good. 

11 The Big Chinese Strawberry, weihing 

16 to a pound, produce fruit all year 
round, of the pine apple's taste. 

12 Yilmoth full. 

New Fig Treks o" a Monstruous Sizk. 

1 Diodena white, of a large size. 

2 Duchess of Maroc, green fruit. 

3 Donne-a-Dieu, blue fruit. 

4 La Sanspareille, yellow fruit. 

The Perpetual Jiapfiherrii Trpe, imported 
from Lidies producing a fruit large as an 
ei'^, taste delicious 3 kinds, red, violet 
and white. 



TJie Ra2:>sherr!i Tree from Fastolff, red fruit, 
very good of an extraordinary size, very 
hearly forward plant. 

Cherr'i Currant Tree, with large bunches, 
it has a great production. Its numerous 
and long bunches cover entirely the old 
wood and looks like grapes; the fruit of 
a cherry pink colour is very large and of 
the best quality. 

Aspara^uf^ from Africa, new kinds, good 
to eat the same year of their planting 
(seeds of two voar-s). 1000 varieties ol 
annual and perpetual tlower'3 grains also 
of kitchen garden grains. 



150 A JOURNEY IN THE KACK COUNTRY. 



PAULNOYIA INPERIAT.IS. Magnificeut hardy plant from 12 to p yards of hi?th; 
its leave come to the size of 75 to 80 centimeter and its fine and larg flowers of a 
fine blue, gives when the spring comes, a soft and agri-able perfume. 
Besides these plants the amateur irill fiar. at M. Eousset, stores, a great number o/ 
other Plants and Fruit Trees of which would be to long to describe. 

NOTICE. 

The admirable and strange plant called Tromj^ette dti Jugement (The Judgment 
Trompette), of that name having not yet found its classification. 

This marvellous plant was send to us from China by the cleuer and courageous bot- 
anist collector M. Fortune, from ITIimalaya, near sunimetof the Chamalari Macon. 

This splendid plant deserves the first rank among all kinds of plant wich the botan- 
ical science bas produce till now in spite of all the new discoveries. 

This bulbous plant gives several stems on the same subject. It grows to the height 
of 6 feet. It is furnished with flowers from bottom to top. 'ihe bud looks by his from 
like a big cannon ball of a heavenly blue. The center is of an aurora yellewish colour. 
The vegetation of that plant is to fonitfall that when it is near to blossom it gives a 
great heat when tassing it in hand and when the bud opens it produces a naitc similar 
to a pistole shot. Immediately the vegetation takes fire and burns like alcohol about 
an hour and half. The flowers succeeding one to the other gives the satisfaction of 
having flowers during 7 or S months. 

The most intense cold can not hurt this plant and can be culvivated in pots, in ap. 
partments or gpeen houses. 

Wa call the public attention to this plant as a great curiosity. 

Havre— Printed by F. HUE, rue de Faris, 89. 



"But come," said the farmer, " go in ; take a drink. Break- 
fast '11 be ready right smart." 

" I do n't want to drink before breakfast, thank you." 

"Why not?" 

" I'm not accustomed to it, and I do n't think it 's wholesome." 

Not wholesome to drink before breakfast I That was "a 
new kink" to our jolly host, and troubled him as much as a new 
"ism" would an old fogy. Not wholesome? He had always 
reckoned it warn't very wholesome not to drink before breakfast, 
He did not expect I had seen a great many healthier men than 
he was, had I ? and he always took a drink before breakfast. If 
a man just kept himself well strung up, without ever stretching 
himself right tight, he did n't reckon damps or heat would ever 
do him much harm. He had never had a sick day since he came 
to this place, and he reckoned that this was owin' considerable to 
the good rye whiskey he took. It was a healthy trac' of land, 
though, he believed, a mighty healthy trac' ; every thing seemed 



A TRIP INTO NORTHERN MISSISSIPPI. 151 

to thrive here. We must see a nigger-gal that he was raisin' ; 
she was just coming five, and would pull up nigh upon a hundred 
weight. 

" Two year ago," he continued, after taking his dram, as we 
sat by the fire in the north room, " when I had a carpenter here 
to finish oft* this house, I told one of my boys he must come in 
and help him. I reckoned he would larn quick, if he was a mind 
to. So he come in, and a week arterwards he fitted the plank 
and laid this floor, and now you just look at it ; I do n't believe 
any man could do it better. That was tw^o year ago, and now 
he 's as good a carpenter as you ever sec. I bought him some 
tools after the carpenter left, and he can do any thing with 'em — 
make a table or a chest of drawers or any thing. I think niggers 
is somehow nat'rally ingenious ; more so 'n white folks. They is 
wonderful apt to any kind of slight." 

I took out my pocket-map, and while studying it, asked Yazoo 
some questions about the route East. Not having yet studied 
geo2,raphy, as he observed, he could not answer. Our host 
inquired where I was going, that way. I said I should go on to 
Carolina. 

" Expect you 're going to buy a rice-farm, in the Carolinies, 
aiat you ? and I reckon you 're up here speckylating arter nigger 
stock, aint you now ?" 

" Well," said I, " I would n't mind getting that fat girl of 
yours, if we can make a trade. IIow much a pound wnll you sell 
her at r 

" We do n't sell niggers by the pound in this country." 

" Well, how much by the lump ?" 

" AVell, I do n't know ; reckon I do n't keer about sellin' her 
just yet." 



152 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

After breakfast, I inquired about the mauagement of the farm. 
He said that he purchased negroes, as he was able, from time to 
time. He grew rich by the improved salable value of his laud, 
arising in part from their labor, and from their natural increase 
and improvement, for he bought only such as would be likely to 
increase in value on his hands. He had been obliged to spend 
but little money, being able to live and provide most of the food 
and clothing for his family and his people, by the production of his 
farm. He made a little cotton, which he had to send some distance 
to be ginned and baled, and then wagoned it seventy miles to a 
market; also raised some wheat, which he turned into flour at a 
neighboring mill, and sent to the same market. This transfer 
engaged much of the winter labor of his man-slaves. 

I said that I supposed the Memphis and Charleston railroad, 
as it progressed east, would shorten the distance to which it 
would be necessary to draw his cotton, and so be of much service 
to him. He did not know that. He did not know as he should 
ever use it. He expected they w^ould charge pretty high for 
carrying cotton, and his niggers had n't any thing else to do. It 
did not really cost him any thing now to send it to Memphis, be- 
cause he had to board the niggers and the cattle anyhow, and 
they did not want much more on the road than they did at home. 

He made a large crop of corn, which, however, was mainly 
consumed by his own force, and he killed annually about one 
Iiundred and fifty hogs, the bacon of wdiich was all consumed in 
his own family and by his people, or sold to passing travelers. 
In the fall, a great many drovers and slave-dealers passed over 
the road with their stock, and they frequently camped against 
his house, so as to buy corn and bacon of him. This they cooked 
themselves. 



A TRIP INTO NORTHERN MISSISSIPPI. 153 

There were sometimes two himdred negroes brought along to- 
gether, going South. He did n't always have bacon to spaie for 
them, though he killed one hundred and fifty swine. The} were 
generally bad characters, and had been sold for fault by their 
owners. Some of the slave-dealers were high-minded, honorable 
men, he thought; "high-toned gentlemen, as ever he saw, some 
of 'em, was." 

Niggers were great eaters, and wanted more meat than white 
folks ; and he always gave his as much as they wanted, and more 
too. The negro cook always got dinner for them, and took what 
she liked for it ; his wife did n't know much about it. She got 
as much as she liked, and he guessed she did n't spare it. When 
the field-hands were anywhere within a reasonable distance, they 
always came up to the house to get their dinner. If they were 
going to work a great way off, they would carry their dinner with 
them. They did as they liked about it. When they had n't 
taken their dinner, the cook called them at twelve o'clock with a 
conch. They ate in the kitchen, and he had the same dinner 
that they did, right out of the same frying-pan — it Avas all the 
same, only they ate in the kitchen, and he ate in the room we 
were in, with the door open between them. 

I brought up the subject of the cost of labor, North and 
South. He had no apprehension that there would ever be any 
want of laborers at the South, and could not understand that the 
ruling price indicated the state of the demand for them. He 
thought negroes would increase more rapidly than the need 
for their labor. "Niggers," said he, "breed faster than white 
folks, a 'mazin' sight, you know ; they begin younger." 

" Ho\^ young dp they begin ?" 



154 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

" Sometimes at fourteen ; sometimes at sixteen, and sometimes 
at eigliteen." 

" Do yon let tliera marry so young as that ?" I inquired. He 
laughed, and said, "they do n't very often wait to be married." 

" When they marry, do they have a minister to marry them ?" 

" Yes, generally one of their own preachers." 

" Do they with you ?" I inquired of Yazoo. 

"Yes, sometimes they hev a white minister, and sometimes a 
black one, and if there ar n't neither handy, they get some of the 
pious ones to marry 'em. But then very often they only just 
come and ask our consent, and then go ahead, without any more 
ceremony. They just call themselves married. But most nig- 
gers likes a ceremony, you know, and they generally make out 
to hev one somehow. They do n't very often get married for 
good, though, without trying each other, as they say, for two 
or three weeks, to see how they are going to like each other." 

I afterwards asked how far it was to the post office. It was 
six miles. " One of my boys," said our host, " always gets the 
paper every week. He goes to visit his wife, and passes by the 
post office every Sunday. Our paper haint come, though, now, 
for three weeks. The mail do n't come very regular." All of 
his negroes, who had wives off the place, left an hour before sun- 
set on Saturday evening. One of them, who had a wife twenty 
miles away, left at twelve o'clock Saturday, and got back at 
twelve o'clock Monday. 

" AVe had a nigger once," said Yazoo, " that had a wife fifteen 
miles away, and he used to do so ; but he did some rascality 
once, and he was afraid to go again. He told us his wife was so 
far off, 't was too much trouble to go there, and he believed he 'd 
a:ive her up. We was glad of it. He was a darned rascally nig- 



A TRIP INTO NORTHERN MISSISSIPPI. 155 

ger — allers getting into scrapes. One time we sent him to mill, 
and he went round into town and sold some of the meal. The 
storekeeper would n't pay him for 't, 'cause he had n't got an 
order. The next time we were in town, the storekeeper just 
showed us the bag of meal ; — said he reckoned 't was stole ; so 
when we got home we just tied him up to the tree and licked 
him. He 's a right smart nigger ; rascally niggers allers is 
smart. I 'd rather have a rascally nigger than any other — they 's 
so smart allers. He is about the best nigger we 've got." 

" I have heard," said I, "that religious negroes were generally 
the most valuable. I have been told that a third more would be 
given for a man if he were religious. " Well, I never heerd of 
it before," said he. Our host thought there was no difference in 
the market value of sinners and saints. 

" Only," observed Yazoo, " the rascalier a nigger is, the better 
he'll work. Now that yer nigger I was tellin' you on, he's 
Avorth more 'n any other nigger we 've got. He 's a yaller nig- 
ger." 

I asked their opinion as to the comparative vahie of black and 
yellow negroes. Our host had two bright mulatto boys among 
his— didn't think there was much difference, "but allers reck- 
oned yellow fellows was the best a little ; they worked smarter. 
He would rather have them." Yazoo would not ; he " did n't 
think but what they 'd work as well ; but he did n't fancy yellow 
neoToes 'round him ; would rather have real black ones." 

I asked our host if he had no foreman or driver for his negroes, 
or if he gave his directions to one of them in particular for all 
the rest. He did not. They all did just as they pleased, and 
arranged the work among themselves. They never needed driv- 



156 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

"If I ever notice one of 'em getting a little slack, I just talk 
to liini ; tell him we must get out of the grass, and I want to 
hev him stir himself a little more, and theu, maybe, I slip a dol- 
lar into his hand, and when he gits into the field he '11 go ahead, 
and the rest seeing him, won't let themselves he distanced by 
him. Mv nio;<^'ers never want no lookin' arter. They tek more 
interest in the crop than I do myself, every one of 'em." 

Religious, instructed, and seeking further enlightenment ; in- 
dustrious, energetic, and self directing ; well fed, respected, and 
trusted by their master, and this master an illiterate, indolent and 
careless man ! A very different state of things, this, from what 
I saw on the great cotton planter's estate, where a profit of 
^100,000 was made in a single year, but where five hundred 
negroes were constantly kept under the whip, where religion was 
only a pow-wow or cloak for immorality, and whei'e the negro 
was considered to be of an inferior race, especially designed by 
Providence to be kept in the positioft he there occupied ! A very 
diflferent thing ; and strongly suggesting what a very difterent 
thing this negro servitude might be made in general, were the 
ruling disposition of the South more just, democratic, and sensible. 

About half past eleven, a stage coach, which had come earlier 
in the morning from the East, and had gone on as far as the 
brook, returned, having had our baggage transferred to it from 
the one we had left on the other side. In the transfer a portion 
of my baggage was omitted and never recovered. Up to this 
time our host had not paid the smallest attention to any work his 
men were doing, or even looked to see if they had fed the cattle, 
but had lounged about, sitting upon a fence, chewing tobacco, and 
talking with us, evidently very glad to have somebody to converse 
with. He went in once again, after a drink; showed us the bacon 



A TRIP INTO NORTHERN MISSISSIPPI. 157 

he had in his Bmoke-houso, and told a good many stories of bis 
experience in life, about a white man's " dying hard" in the 
neighborhood, and of a tree falling on a team with which one 
of his negroes was plowing cotton, " which was lucky" — that is, 
that it did not kill the negro — and a good deal about "hunting" 
when he was younger and lighter. 

Still embarrassed by an old idea which I had brought to the 
South with me, I waited, after the coach came in sight, for Yazoo 
to put the question, wdiich he presently did, boldly enough. 
" Well ; reckon we 're goin' now. What 's the damage ?" 
" Well ; reckon seventy-five cents '11 be right." 



CHAPTER IV. 

THE INTERIOR COTTON DISTRICTS. 

I HAVE considered the condition and prospects of the white 
race in the South a much more important subject, and one, at 
this time, much more in want of exposition than that of the Afri- 
can. But the great difference in the mode of life of the slaves 
when living on large plantations, and when living on farms or in 
town establishments, or on such small plantations that they are 
intimately associated with white families, has seemed to me to 
have been so much overlooked by writers, that I have departed 
widely from the narrative with which this volume commenced, 
and drawn from my traveling notes of a previous year, to more 
fully display it. 

Continuing the horseback journey commenced in the rich cot- 
ton-bearing soils Avhich border the Mississippi river, I turned east- 
ward, not far above Natchez, and pursued an indirect route to- 
wards Tuscaloosa in Alabama. The country grew less fertile, and 
the plantations smaller. The number of whites (not of negroes), 
living upon plantations of the class chiefly described thus far in 
this volume (and in two instances, at length, in my first volume), 
is, of course, small. The more common sort of plantations and 
the common middle-class planter, can hardly be seen by a tourist 
in any other way than that I now pursued, traveling in the in- 
terior, away from the rivers and the ordinary lines of communi- 
cation, and independently of public conveyances ; there is conse- 



THE INTERIOR COTTON DISTRICTS. 159 

quently less general kuowledgG of tliem, I apprehend, than of 
any other portion of the populatiou of the South, yet of the 
class properly termed "the planters" they constitute probably 
nine tenths. 

The price of " improved" plantation land varies from five to 
ten dollars per acre, according to its fertility and the vicinity to a 
market ; near large towns only does it command more.* As the 
richest soils are in the lowest situations — frequently on the bor- 
ders of marshes and streams — the most productive plantations are 
seldom healthy, and their proprietors very generally live for a 
part of the summer, I am informed, in the neighboring towns, 
where they constitute congenial society for each other. Com- 
paratively few of the towns, however, are thus favored ; all that 
I saw in central Mississippi, with the exception of JaclvSon,f the 
capital, were forlorn, poverty-stricken collections of shops, grog- 
geries, and lawyers' offices, mingled with unsightly and usually 
dilapidated dwelling-houses. Moreover, I found that many a 
high-sounding name (figuring on the same maps in which towns 

* " The value of the best cotton plantations on the uplands of Natchez, is 
about £4 an acre, which is little more than half that which soils of similar 
quality are worth in Canada West." — Korih America : its Agriculture, etc., 
page 271. 

f The capital is a rather fine town externally. At the principal hotel, in 
some departments of which there is the usual " first-class" regal magnifi- 
cence, napkins, silver-plated forks and candelabra, there was, at the time of 
my visit, and, as I learn from a recent traveler, there is still no cabinet 
dfaisance. On inquiring for it, I was advised by the landlord himself to go 
to a cypress swamp, perhaps a quarter of a mile distant, and there was evi- 
dence enough that this was daily resorted to for the purpose, not only by the 
other guests of the hotel, but by a large portion of the inhabitants of the 
town. The reader ner;d be under no fear of drawing a false inference from 
this fact, with regard to the degree in which the South generally is pos- 
sessed of all modern civilized convenience. 



160 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

of five thousand inhabitants in New England, New York, and 
Pennsylvania, are omitted), indicated the locality of merely a 
grocery or two, a blacksmith shop, and two or three log cabins. 
I passed through two of these map towns without knowing that 
I had reached them, and afterwards ascertained that one of them 
consisted of a deserted blacksmith shop, and a cabin in which the 
post-master lived, and the other, of a single grocery. 

The majority of the interior plantations which came under my 
observation belong to resident planters, and are from four hundred 
to one thousand acres in extent, the average being perhaps six 
hundred acres.^ The number of negroes on each varies from ten 
to forty, more frequently being between twenty and thirty. 
Where there are fewer than ten negroes, the owners are fre- 
quently seen holding a plow among them ; where there are over 
twenty, a white overseer is usually employed, the owner perhaps 
directing, but seldom personally superintending, the field labor. 

The characteristics of this latter class of cotton-planters vary 
much. I shall, I think, be generally rightly understood if I 
say that the majority of them possess more dignity of bearing 
and manner, that they give a stranger an impression of greater 
" respectability" than the middle class of farmers at the North 
and in England, while they have less general information and 
less active and inquiring minds. The class of farmers in New 
England and New York, with whom I compare them, have rare- 
ly received any education beyond that of the public schools, 
which, in the last generation, afi'orded a very meager modicum 

* "When the largest share of the labor is not intended to be applied to the 
cotton crop, but is divided among various crops, as is usually the case where 
less than four hundred acres are held in possession by the proprietor, I term 
the enterprise a farm in distinction from a plantation. 



THE INTERIOR COTTON DISTRICTS. 161 

of instruction. The planters of whom I speak, 1 judge to have 
usually spent a short time at boarding-schools or institutions of a 
somewhat superior order to the common, or " primary" schools 
of the country — but their acquisition of knowledge subsequently 
to their school-days by newspapers and books, and by conver- 
sation, has been very small. 

It is frequently the case, however, that the planter has started 
as a poor, and entirely self-dependent young man, the basis of 
whose present fortune consisted of his savings from the wages 
earned by him as overseer — these are commonly as illiterate as 
the very poorest of our northern agricultural laborers. Yet 
again there are those who, beginning in the same way, have ac- 
quired, while so employed, not only a capital with which to pur- 
chase land and slaves, but a valuable stock of experience and 
practical information, and somewhat of gentlemanly bearing from 
intercourse with their employers. In respect to the enjoyment 
of material comforts, and the exercise of taste in the arrange- 
ment of their houses and grounds, the condition of these plant- 
ers, while it is superior to that of the Tcxans, is far below that 
of northern farmers of one quarter their wealth. But an ac- 
quaintance with their style of living can only be obtained from 
details, and these I shall again give by extracts from ray journal, 
showing how I chanced to be entertained night after night, pre- 
mising that I took no little pains to select the most comfortable 
quarters in the neighborhood which I reached at the close of the 
day. To avoid repetition, I will merely say with regard to diet, 
tliat bacon, corn-bread and coffee invariably appeared at every 
meal ; but, besides this, either at breakfast or supper, a fried fowl, 
" biscuit" of wheat flour, with butter were added — the biscuit 
invariably made heavy, doughy and indigestible with shortening 



162 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

(fat), and brought to table in relays, to be eaten as Lot as possible 
with melting butter. Molasses usually, honey frequently, and, as 
a rare exception, potatoes and green peas were added to the 
board. Whiskey was seldom offered me, and only once any 
other beverage except the abominable preparation which passes 
for coffee. 

Until I reached the softly rounded hills, with occasional small 
prairies, through which flows the Tombigbee, in the eastern part 
of the State, the scenery was monotonous and somber. The pre- 
dominating foliage is that of the black-oak, black-jack, and pine, 
except in the intervale lands, where the profuse and bright-colored 
vegetation common to the latitude is generally met with in great 
variety. 



Last of May. Yesterday was a raw, cold day, wind north-east, 
like a dry north-east storm at home. Fortunately I came to the 
pleasantest house and household I had seen for some time. The 
proprietor was a native of Maryland, and had traveled in the 
North ; a devout Methodist, and somewhat educated. He first 
came South, as I understood, for the benefit of his health, his 
lungs being weak. The climate here is very mild ; lung com- 
plaints, though not infrequent, not nearly as common as in Mary- 
land. Of a number of northern people whom he had known to 
come here with consumption, only one or two had recovered. 
There are several in the country now, he said, young women teach- 
ing school. This immediate locality, he considered very healthy ; 
he had a family (including about fifteen negroes) of twenty, and 
had never been visited by any sickness more serious than chills 



THE INTERIOK COTl^ON DISTRICTS. 163 

and fever ; but on lower and richer ground, they suffered much 
from typhus fever, pneumonia, and malignant typhus. 

His first dwelling, a rude log cabin, was still standing, and was 
occupied by some of his slaves. The new house, a cottage, con- 
sisting of four rooms and a hall, stood in a small grove of oaks ; 
the family were quiet, hind, and sensible. 

When I arrived, the oldest boy was at work, holding a plow 
in the cotton-field, but he left it and came at once, with confident 
and aff"able courtesy, to entertain me. 

My host had been in Texas, and after exploring it quite tho- 
roughly, concluded that he much preferred to remain where he 
was. He found no part of that country where good land, timber, 
and a healthy climate were combined : in the west he did not 
like the vicinage of the Germans and Mexicans ; moreover, he 
did n't " fancy" a prairie country. Here, in favorable years, he 
got a bale of cotton to the acre. Not so much now as formerly. 
Still, he said, the soil would be good enough for him here, for 
many years to come. 

I said that he was a Methodist ; he was also an extreme pro- 
slavery man. He had seen in his religious newspaper an account 
of Mr. Fillmore's being shown a large Alabama plantation on a 
Sunday ; Mr. Fillmore had expressed himself highly delighted 
and surprised with the manner in which the slaves were taken care 
of, being obliged to attend church, etc. He hoped it would do 
Mr. Fillmore good. He had been opposed to him in politics, and 
he doubted now if he could be trusted. They would try to make 
him President again, he supposed, for they were working hard to 
make the South think him her friend. There was no knowing 
about any thing of that kind now. There was New York, my 
State, who could tell any thing about her now-a-days ? It seemed 



164 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

to him slie was controlled by fanatics, demagogues, and foreigners, 
who were purchased by the highest bidder; she was no more to 
bo depended upon than a weathercock. One year she pointed 
one way, the next, directly opposite. The South could no more 
depend on the Democrats than on the Whigs in New York, that 
was his opinion. 

I went five times to the stable without being able to find the 
servant there. I was always told that " the boy" would feed my 
horse, and take good care of him, when he came ; and so at 
leno-th I had to go to bed, trusting to this assurance. I went out 
just before breakfast and found the horse with only ten dry cobs 
in the manger. I searched for the boy ; could not find him, but 
was told that my horse had been fed. I said, " I wish to have 
him fed more — as much as he will eat." Very well, the boy 
should give him more. AVhcn I went out after breakfast, the 
boy was leading out the horse. I asked if he had given him 
corn this morning. 

" Oh, yes sir." 

" How many ears did you give him V 

" Ten or fifteen — or sixteen, sir ; he eats very hearty." 

I went into the stable and saw that he had had no more, i. e., 
after the feed of the evening ; there were the same ten cobs (dry) 
in the manger. I doubted, indeed, from their appearance, if the 
boy had fed him at all the night before. I fed him with leaves 
myself, but could not get into the corn crib. The proprietor was, I 
do not doubt, perfectly honest, but very likely the negro stole the 
corn for his own hogs and fowls.- 

The next day I rode more than thirty miles, having secured a 
good feed of corn for the horse at mid-day. At nightfall I was 
much fatigued, but had as yet failed to get lodging.- It began to 



THE INTERIOR COTTON DISTRICTS. 165 

rain and grow dark, and I kept the road with difficulty. Finally, 
about nine o'clock, I came to a large, comfortable house. 

An old lady sat in the verandah, of whom I asked if I could 
be accommodated for the night : " Reckon so," she replied ; then 
after a few moments' reflection, without rising from her chair she 
•shouted, " Gal ! — gal !" Presently a girl came. 

" Missis ?" 

" Call Tom !" 

The girl went off, while I remained, waiting for a more definite 
answer. At length she returned : " Tom ain't there, missis." 

" Who is there ?" 

"Old Pete." 

" Well, tell him to come and take this gentleman's horse." 

Pete came, and I went with him to the gate where I had fast- 
ened my horse. Here he called for some younger slave to come 
and take him down to the pen, while he took off the saddle. 

All this time it was raining, but any rapidity of movement was 
out of the question. Pete continued shouting. "Why not lead 
the horse to the pen yourself?" I asked. "I must take care of 
de saddle and tings, massa ; tote 'em to de house wdiar dey '11 be 
safe. Dese niggers is so treacherous can't leave notliin' roun' 
but dey '11 hook suthing off of it." 

Next morning, at dawn of day, I saw honest Pete come into 
the room where I was in bed and go stealthily to his young mas- 
ter's clothes, probably mistaking them for mine. I moved, and 
he dropped them, and slunk out to the next room, where he went 
loudly to making a fire. I managed to see Belshazzar well fed 
night and morning. 

There were three pretty young women in this house, of good 
manners and well dressed, except for the abundance of rings and 



166 A JOUKNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

jewelry which they displayed at breakfast. I've no doubt they 
had enjoyed the advantages of some ''Institute," where they had 
been put clean through from " the elementaiy studies" to " Wax- 
work and Watts on the Mind.'''' One of them surprised me, 
therefore, not a little at the table. I had been offered, in succes- 
sion, fried ham and eggs, sweet potatoes, apple-pie, corn-bread, 
boiled eggs, and molasses ; this last article I declined, and passed 
it to the young lady opposite, looking to see how it was to be 
used. She had, on a breakfast plate, fried ham and eggs and 
apple-pie, and poured molasses between them. 



June — . I stopped last evening at the house of a man who 
was called " Doctor" by his family, but who was, to judge from his 
language, very illiterate. His son, by whom I w^as first received, 
followed me to the stable. He had ordered a negro child to lead 
my horse, but as I saw the little fellow^ could n't hold him I went 
myself. He had no fodder (corn-leaves), and proposed to give 
the horse some shucks (corn-husks) dipped in salt water, and, as 
it was now too late to go further, I assented. Belshazzar licked 
them greedily, but would not eat them, and they seemed to destroy 
his appetite for corn, for late in the evening, having groped my 
way into the stable, I found seven small ears of corn, almost un- 
tasted, in the manger. I got the young man to come out and 
give him more. 

The "Doctor" returned from "a hunt," as he said, with no 
game but a turtle, which he had taken from a " trot line" — a line, 
with hooks at intervals, stretched across the river. 

The house was large, and in a good-sized parlor or common 



THE INTERTOR COTTOX DISTRICTS. 167 

room stood a handsome center- table, on Avliich were a few books 
and papers, mostly Baptist publications. I sat here alone in the 
evening, straining my eyes to read a wretchedly-printed news- 
paper, till I was offered a bed. I was very tired and sleepy, hav- 
ing been ill two nights before. A physician, whom I had been 
obliged to consult, informed me that severe illness was frequently 
occasioned here by an exposure of the abdomen to the cool night 
air, an accident to which the irritation of insects must often snb- 
ject sleepers. The bed was apparently clean, and I embraced it 
with pleasure. 

My host, holding a candle for me to undress by, (there was no 
candlestick in the house,) called to a boy on the outside to fasten 
the doors, which he did by setting articles of furniture against 
them. When I had got into bed he went himself into an inner 
room, the door of which he closed and fjistened in the same 
manner. No sooner was the light withdrawn than I was at- 
tacked by bugs. I was determined, if possible, not to be kept 
awake by them, but they soon conquered me. I never suffered 
such incessant and merciless persecution from them before. In 
half an hour I was nearly frantic, and leaped out of bed. But 
what to do ? There was no use in making a disturbance about 
it ; doubtless every other bed and resting place in the house was 
full of them. I shook out my day clothes carefully and put 
them on, and then pushing away the barricade, opened the door 
and went into the parlor. At first I thought that I would ar- 
range the chairs in a row and sleep on them ; but this I found 
impracticable, for the seats of the chairs were too narrow, and 
moreover of deerskin, which was sure to be full of fleas if not 
of bugs. Stiff and sore and weak, I groaningly lay down where 
the light of the moon came through a broken window, for bugs 



168 A JOUKNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

feed but little except in darkness, and with my saddle-bags for a 
pillow, again essayed to sleep. Fleas ! instantly. I rolled and 
scratched for hours. There was nothing else to be done ; I was 
too tired to sit up, even if that would have effectually removed 
the annoyance. Finally I dozed — not long, I think, for I was 
suddenly awakened by a large insect dropping upon my eye. I 
struck it off, and at the moment it stung me. My eyelid swelled 
immediately, and grew painful, but at lengh I slept in spite of it. 
I was once more awakened by a large beetle which fell on me 
from the window ; once more I got asleep, till finally at four 
o'clock I awoke with that dryness of the eyes which indicates a 
determination of the system to sleep no more. It was daylight, 
and I was stiff and shivering ; the inflammation and pain of the 
sting in my eyelid had in a great degree subsided. I put on my 
boots and hat, pushed back the bolt of the outside door-lock 
with my thumb, and went to the stable. The negroes were al- 
ready at work in the field. Belshazzar had had nearly as bad a 
place to sleep in as I ; the floor of the stall, being of earth, had 
been trodden into two hollows at each end, leaving a small 
rough hillock in the center. Bad as it was, however, it was the 
best in the stable ; only one in four of the stalls having a man- 
ger that was not broken down. A little black girl and boy were 
cleaning their master's horses — mine they were afraid of. They 
had put some fresh corn in his manger, however, and as he re- 
fused to eat I took a curry-comb and brush, and for the next two 
hours gave him the first thorough grooming he had enjoyed 
since I owned him. I could not detect the reason of his loss of 
appetite. I had been advised by an old southern traveler to ex- 
amine the corn when my horse refused to eat — if corn were high 
I might find that it had been greased. From the actions of the 



THE INTERIOR COTTON DISTRICTS. 169 

liorse, then and subsequently, I suspect some trick of this kind 
was here practiced upon me. When I returned to the house and 
asked to wash, water was given me in a vessel which, though I 
doubted the right of my host to a medical diploma, certainly 
smelt strongly of the shop — it was such as is used by apotheca- 
ries in mixing drugs. The title of doctor is often popularly giv- 
en at the South to druggists and venders of popular medicines ; 
very probably he had been one, and had now retired to enjoy 
the respectability of a planter. 

June . — I saddled and rode on immediately after breakfast ; 

but as soon as the dew had dried oft' the grass, and I could find 
an abandoned plantation, I turned aside from the road and wan- 
dered through the old fields till I came upon a thicket of broad- 
leafed black-jacks, with glades of grass only a little broken by 
bushes. I then unsaddled, and fastening Belshazzar with a lar- 
iat, where he could either graze or lie in the shade of a pine 
tree, I laid my blanket on the ground among the black-jacks, 
and in two minutes was rapidly overtaking my lost night's 
rest. 

Awakening suddenly, I find that Belshazzar, his rope stretched 
to its utmost tension, has got close to me, and stands strongly 
braced, with nostrils dilated, eyes and ears bent on the swamp 
below us, where a pack of hounds are rushing past in full frantic 
cry. Gradually the music dies away in the distance ; we see 
nothing of deer, or fox, or nigger, hounds or huntsmen. Bel- 
shazzar returns to feed, and Jude coils down to sleep again upon 
her form. But I have slept enough ; so I wash myself from 
canteen and get dinner, write up my journal, and am off 



170 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 



A PIOUS SLAVE. 

Soon I met a very ragged old negro, of whom I asked the 
way, and at what house within twelve miles I had better stop. 
He advised me to go to one more than twelve miles distant. 

" I suppose," said I, " I can stop at any house along the road 
here, can't I ? They '11 all take in travelers ?" 

" Yes, sir, if you '11 take rough fare, such as travelers has to, 
sometimes. They 're all dam'd rascals along dis road, for ten or 
twelve miles, and you '11 git nothin' but rough fare. But I say, 
massa, rough fare 's good enough for dis world ; ain't it, massa ? 
Dis world ain't nothin' ; dis is hell, dis is, I calls it ; hell to 
what 's a comin' arter, ha ! ha ! Ef you 's prepared ? you says. 
I do n't look much 's if I was prepared, does I ? nor talk like it, 
nuther. De Lord he cum to me in my cabin in de night time, 
in de year '45." 

" "What ?" 

"DeLord! massa, de bresscd Lord! He cum to me in cie 
night time, in de year '45, and he says to me, says he, ' I '11 
spare you yet five year longer, old boy !' So wdien '50 cum 
round I thought my time had cum, sure ; but as I did n't die, I 
reckon de Lord has 'ceptcd of me, and I 'specs I shall be saved, 
dough I do n't look much like it, ha ! ha ! ho ! ho ! de Lord am 
my rock, and he shall not perwail over me. I will lie down in 
green pastures and take up my bed in hell, yet will not his mer- 
cy circumwent me. Got some tobaccy, master ?" 

A little after sunset I came t0 an unusually promising planta- 
tion, the dwelling being within a large inclosure, in which there 
was a well-kept southern sward shaded by fine trees. The house, 
of the usual form, was painted white, and the large number of 



THE INTERIOR COTTON DISTRICTS. 171 

neat out-buildings seemed to indicate opulence, and, I thought, 
unusual good taste in its owner. A lad of sixteen received me, 
and said I could stay ; I might fasten my horse, and when the 
negroes came up he would have him taken care of. When I had 
done so, and had brought the saddle to the verandah, he offered 
me a chair, and at once commenced a conversation in the char- 
acter of entertainer. Nothing in his tone or manner would have 
indicated that he w^as not the father of the family, and proprietor 
of the establishment. No prince royal could have had more as- 
sured and nonchalant dignity. Yet a northern stable-boy, or 
apprentice, of his age, would seldom be found as ignorant. 

" Where do you live, sir, when you are at home ?" he asked. 

" At New York." 

" New York is a big place, I expect ?" 

" Yes, very big." 

" Big as New Orleans, is it ?" 

" Yes, much bio-o-er." 

" Bigger 'n New Orleans? It must be a bully city." 

" Yes ; the largest in America." 

" Sickly there now, sir ?" 

" No, not now ; it is sometimes." 

" Like New Orleans, I suppose, sir ?" 

" No, never so bad as New Orleans sometimes is." 

" Right healthy place, I expect ?" 

" Yes, I believe so, for a place of its size." 

" What diseases do you have there, sir?" 

" All sorts of diseases — not so much fever, however, as yon 
have here." 

"Measles and hooping cough, sometimes, I reckon?" 

" Yes, 'most all the time, I dare say." 
8* 



172 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

" All the time ! People must die tliere right smart. Some is 
dyin' 'most every day, I expect ?" 

" More than a hundred every day, I suppose." 

" Gosh ! a hundred every day ! Almighty sickly place 't must 
be?" 

" I do n't think it is any more sickly than it is here. It is such 
a large place, you see — seven hundred thousand people." 

" Seven hundred thousand — expect that 's a heap of people, 
aint it ?" 

His father, a portly, well-dressed man, soon came in, and learn- 
ing that I had been in Mexico, said, " I suppose there 's a heap 
of Americans flocking in and settling up that country along on 
the line, ain't there, sir ?" 

" No, sir, very few. I saw none, in fact — only a few Irishmen 
and Frenchmen, who called themselves Americans. Those were 
the only foreigners I saw, except negroes." 

" Niggers ! Where were they from ?" 

" They were runaways from Texas." 

" But their masters go there and get them again, do n't they ?" 

" No, sir, they can 't." 

« Why not ?" 

" The Mexicans are friendly to the niggers, and protect them." 

" But why not go to the government ?" 

" The government considers them as free, and will not let them 
be taken back." 

"But that's stealing, that is; just the same as stealing, sir. 
Why do n't our government make them deliver them up ? What 
good is the government to us if it do n't preserve the rights of 
property, sir ? Niggers are property, ain't they ? and if a man 
steals my property, ain't the government bound to get it for me ? 



THE INTERIOR COTTON DISTRICTS. 173 

Niggers are property, the same as horses and cattle, and nobody 's 
any more right to help a nigger that 's run away than he has to 
steal a horse." 

He spoke very angrily, and was excited. Perhaps he was 
indirectly addressing me, as a northern man, on the general sub- 
ject of fugitive slaves. I said that it was necessary to have 
special treaty stipulations about such matters. The Mexicans 
lost their peons — bounden servants ; they ran away to our side, 
but the United States g-overnment never took any measures to 
restore them, nor did the Mexicans ask it. " But," he answered, 
in a tone of indignation, " those are not niggers, are they ? They 
are white people, just as white as the Mexicans themselves, and 
just as- much right to be free." 

My horse stood in the yard till quite dark, the negroes not 
coming in from the cotton-field. I proposed twice to take him 
to the stable, but was told not to — the niggers would come up 
soon and attend to him. Just as we were called to supper, the 
negroes began to make their appearance, getting over a fence 
with their hoes, and the master called to one to put the horse in 
the stable, and to " take good care of him." '^ I want him to 
have all the corn he '11 eat," said I. " Yes, sir — feed him well ; 
do you hear, there ?" 

The house was meagerly furnished within, not nearly as well 
as the most common New England farm-house. I saw no books 
and no decorations. The interior wood-work was unpainted. 

At supper there were three negro girls in attendance — two 
children of twelve or fourteen years of age, and an older one, 
but in a few moments they all disappeared. The mistress called 
aloud several times, and at length the oldest came, bringing in 
hot biscuit. 



1V4 A JOUENEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

" Where 's Suke and Bet ?" 

" In the kitchen, missus." 

" Tell them both to come to me, right off." 

A few minutes afterwards, one of the girls slunk in and stood 
behind me, at the furthest point from her mistress. Presently 
she was discovered. 

" You, Bet, are you there ? Come here ! come here to me ! 
close to me ! {Slap, slap, slap.) Now, why do n't you stay in 
here? [Shqj, slap, slap, on the side of the head.) I know! 
you want to be out in the kitchen with them Indians ! [Slap, 
slap, slap.) Now see if you can stay here." [Skq)/) The other 
girl did n't come in at all, and was forgotten. 

As soon as supper was over my hostess exclaimed, " Now, you 
Bet, stop crying there, and do you go right straight home ; miud 
you run every step of the way, and if yon stop one minute in 
the kitchen you 'd better look out. Begone !" During the time 
I was in the house she was incessantly scolding the servants, in a 
manner very disagreeable for me to hear, though they seemed to 
regard it very little. 

The Indians, I learned, lived some miles away, and were hired 
to hoe cotton. I inquired their wages. " Well, it costs me 
about four bits (fifty cents) a day," (including food, probably). 
They worked well for a few days at a time ; were better at pick- 
ing than at hoeiug. " They do n't pick so much in a day as nig- 
gers, but do it better." The women said they were good for 
nothing, and her husband had no business to plant so much cot- 
ton that he could n't 'tend it with his own slave hands. 

While at table a young man, very dirty and sweaty, with a 
ragged shirt and no coat on, came in to supper. He was surly 
and rude in his actions, and did not speak a word ; he left the 



THE INTEKIOR COTTON DISTRICTS. 175 

table before I had finished, and hghting a pipe, laid himself at 
full length on the floor of the room to smoke. This was the 
overseer. 

Immediately after supper the master told me he was in the 
habit of going to bed early, and he would now show me to my 
room. He did so, and left me alone without a candle. It was 
dark, and I did not know the way to the stables, so I soon went 
to bed. On a feather bed I did not enjoy much rest, and w^hen I 
at last awoke and dressed, breakfast was just ready. I said I 
would go first to look after my horse, and did so, the master fol- 
Towing me. I found him standing in a miserable stall, in a sorry 
state ; he had not been cleaned, and there were no cobs or other 
indications of his having been fed at all since he had been there. 
I said to my host : 

" He has not been fed, sir!" 

" I wonder ! hain't he ? Well, I '11 have him fed. I s'pose 
the overseer forgot him." 

But, instead of going to the crib and feeding him at once him- 
self, he returned to the house and blew a horn for a negro ; when 
one came in sight from the cotton-fields, he called to him to go 
to the overseer for the key of the corn-crib and feed the gentle- 
man's horse, and asked me to now come to breakfast. The over- 
seer soon joined us as at supper ; nothing was said to him about 
my horse, and he was perfectly silent, and conducted himself like 
an angry or sulky man in all his actions. As before, when he 
had finished his meal, without waiting for others to leave the 
table, he lighted a pipe and lay down to rest on the floor. I 
went to the stable and found my horse had been supplied with 
seven ears of corn only. I came back to ask for more, but could 
find neither master nor overseer. While I was packing my sad- 



176 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTEY. 

die-bags preparatory to leaving, I heard my host call a negro to 
" clean that gentleman's horse and bring him here." As it was 
late, I did not interpose. While I was putting on the bridle, he 
took off the musketo tent attached to the saddle and examined 
it. I told him why I carried it. 

" You won't want it any more,"said he ; " no musketoes of any 
account where you are going ; you 'd better give it to me, sir, I 
should like to use it when I go a-fishing ; musketoes are powerful 
bad in the swamp." After some further solicitation, as I seldom 
used it, I gave it to him. Almost immediately afterwards he 
charged me a dollar for my entertainment, which I paid, not- 
withstanding the value of the tent was several times that amount. 
Hospitality to travelers is so entirely a matter of business with 
the common planters. 

I passed the hoe-gang at work in the cotton-field, the overseer 
lounging among them carrying a whip ; there were ten or twelve 
of them ; none looked up at me. Within ten minutes I passed 
five who were plowing, with no overseer or driver in sight, and 
every one stopped their plows to gaze at me. 

I reached a village before noon, and as I was confident the 
negro had neglected to feed my horse the evening previous, I 
stopped and bought some oats for him, which he ate with great 
avidity. Oats is a fodder crop here only; no grain is ever 
threshed out except for seed. A negro in the stable asked if I 
was " gwine on Tuscaloosy way ?" 

" Yes." 

" Oh, I wish I could go wid you." 

" Why, have you friends there ?" 

" I has dat, both black and white. Does you live in Tusca- 
loosy, massa ?" 



THE INTERIOR COTTON DISTRICTS. 177 

" No, I live at tlie North, in New York." 

" At tlie North ! Oh, dat's de country for to live in. Wish I 
conld go dar wid you, right now. Dat's de country ; a man can 
live dar, and a nigger too, and no devilishness dar 'cept what a 
man does to hisself." 

He was born in Virginia, owned in Tuscaloosa, and was hired 
out to a man here. He did not like this place at all, but would 
rather live here than go any "further down." He seemed to 
have great dread of going "further down" (South). 

" Why ?" 

" Niggers does n't have no Sunday dar, massa. Niggers has 
to work and white folks has muster; dey drums and jQfes de 
whole bressed day ; dat yer '11 sound strange on a Sunday to a 
northern man, eh ?" 

I told him I did n't think it was so. He did n't know, but so 
the niggers here had told him. A report of steamboat negroes 
from New Orleans and the sugar districts, probably. 

A MISSISSIPPI SLAVEHOLDING ABOLITIONIST. 

YestO'rday I met a well-dressed man upon the road, and in- 
quired of him if he could recommend me to a comfortable place 
to pass the night. 

" Yes, I can," said he ; " you stop at John Watson's. Ho is a 
real good fellow, and his wife is a nice, tidy woman ; he 's got a 
good house, and you '11 be as well taken care of there as in any 
place I know." 

" What I am most concerned about is a clean bed," said I. 

" Well, you are safe for that, there." 

So distinct a recommendation was unusual, and when I reached 



178 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTEY, 

the house he had described to me, though it was not yet dark, 
I stopped to solicit entertainment. 

In the gallery sat a fine, stalwart man, and a woman who in 
size and figure matched him well. Some ruddy, fat children 
were playing on the steps. The man wore a full beard, which is 
very uncommon in these parts. I rode to a horse-block near the 
gallery, and asked if I could be accommodated for the night. 
" Oh, yes, you can stay here if you can get along without any 
thing to eat ; we do n't have any thiiig to eat but once a week." 
" You look as if it agreed with you ; I reckon I '11 try it for one 
night." " Alight, sir, alight. AVhy, you came from Texas, 
did n't you ? Your rig looks like it," he said, as I dismounted. 
" Yes, I 've just crossed Texas, all the way from the Rio Grande." 
" Have you, though ? Well, I '11 be right glad to hear some- 
thing of that country." He threw my saddle and bags across 
the rail of the gallery, and we walked together to the 
stable. 

" I hear that there are a great many Germans in the western 
part of Texas," he said presently, 

" There are a great many ; west of the Gaudaloupe, more Ger- 
mans than Americans born." 

" Have they got many slaves ?" 

"No." 

"Well, won't they break off and make a free State down 
there, by and by ?" 

"I should think it not impossible that they might." 

" I wish to God they would ; T would like right well to go and 
settle tliere if it was free from slavery. You see Kansas and all 
the free States are too far north for me ; I was raised in Ala- 
bama, and I do n't want to move into a colder climate ; but I 



THE INTERIOR COTTON DISTRICTS. 179 

would like to go into a country where they had not got this 
curse of slavery." 

He said this not knowing that I was a northern man ; greatly 
surprised, I asked, "What are your objections to slavery, sir?" 

"Objections! The first's here," (striking his breast;) "I 
never could bring myself to like it. Well, sir, I know slavery is 
wrong, and God '11 put an end to it. It 's bound to come to an 
end, and when the end does come, there '11 be woe in the land. 
And, instead of preparing for it, and trying to make it as light as 
possible, we are doing nothing but make it worse and v/orse. 
That 's the way it appears to me, and I 'd rather get out of these 
parts before it comes. Then I 've another objection to it. I do n't 
like to have slaves about me. Now, I tell a nigger to go and 
feed your horse ; I never know if he 's done it unless I go and 
see ; and if he did n't know I would go and see, and would whip 
him if I found he had n't fed him, would he feed him ? He 'd 
let him starve. I 've got as good niggers as anybody, but I never 
can depend on them ; they will lie, and they will steal, and take 
advantage of me in every way they dare. Of course they will if 
they are slaves. But lying and steahng are not the worst of it. 
I 've got a family of children, and I do n't like to have such de- 
graded beings round my house while they are growing up. I 
know what the consequences are to children, of growing up 
among slaves." 

I here told him that I was a northern man, and asked if he 
could safely utter such sentiments among the people of this dis- 
trict, who bore the reputation of being among the most extreme 
and fanatical devotees of slavery. " I 've been told a hundred 
times I should be killed if I were not more prudent in expressing 
my opinions, but, when it comes to killing, I 'm as good as the 



180 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

next man, and they know it. I never came the worst out of a 
fight yet since I was a boy. I never am afraid to speak what I 
think to anybody. I do n't think I ever shall be." 

" Are there many persons here who have as bad an opinion of 
slavery as you have ?" 

" I reckon you never saw a conscientious man wdio had been 
brought up among slaves who did not think of it pretty much as 
I do— did you?" 

" Yes, I think I have, a good many." 

" Ah, self-interest warps men's minds wonderfully, but I do n't 
believe there are many who do n't think so, sometimes — it 's im- 
possible, I know, that they do n't." 

Were there any others in this neighborhood, I asked, who 
avowedly hated slavery? He replied that there were a good 
many mechanics, all the mechanics he knew, who felt slavery to 
be a great curse to them, and who wanted to see it brought to an 
end in some way. The competition in which they were constant- 
ly made to feel themselves engaged with slave-labor was degrad- 
ing to them, and they felt it to be so. He knew a poor, hard- 
working man who was lately offered the services of three negroes 
for six years each if he would let them learn his trade, but he 
refused the proposal with indignation, saying he would starve be- 
fore he helped a slave to become a mechanic.''^ There was a 



* At Wilmington, North Carolina, on the night of the 27th of Julj (1857,) 
the frame-work of a new building was destroyed by a number of persons 
and a placard attached to the disjointed lumber, stating that a similar course 
would be pursued in all cases, against edifices that should be erected by ne- 
gro contractors or carpenters, by one of which class of men the house had 
been constructed. There was a public meeting called a few days afterwards, 
to take this outrage into consideration, which was numerously attended. 
Resolutions were adopted, denouncing the act, and the authorities were in- 



THE INTERIOR COTTON DISTRICTS. 181 

good deal of talk now among them about getting laws passed to 
prevent the owners of slaves from having them taught trades, 
and to prohibit slave-mechanics from being hired out. He could 
go out to-morrow, he supposed, and in the course of a day get 
two hundred signatures to a paper alleging that slavery was a 
curse to the people of Mississippi, and praying the Legislature to 
take measures to relieve them of it as soon as practicable. (The 
county contains three times as many slaves as whites.) 

He considered a coercive government of the negroes by the 
whites, forcing them to labor systematically, and restraining them 
from a reckless destruction of life and property, at present to be 
necessary. Of course, he did not think it wrong to hold slaves, 
and the profits of their labor were not more than enough to pay 
a man for looking after them — not if he did his duty to them. 
What was wrong, was making slavery so much worse than was 
necessary. Negroes would improve very rapidly, if they were 
allowed, in any considerable measure, the ordinary incitements to 
improvement. He knew hosts of negroes who showed extraor- 
dinary talents, considering their opportunities: there were a 
great many in this part of the country who could read and write, 
and calculate mentally as well as the general run of white men 

who had been to schools. There were Colonel 's neo-roes, 

some fifty of them ; he did not suppose there were any fifty 

structed to offer a suitable reward for the detection and conviction of the 
rioters. " The impression was conveyed at the meeting," says the Wilming- 
ton Herald, " that the act had been committed by members of an organized 
association, said to exist here, and to number some two hundred and fifty 
persons, and possibly more, who, as was alleged, to right what they con sid- 
ercd a grievance in the matter of negro competition with white labor, had 
adopted the illegal course of which the act in question was an illustration." 
Proecedings of a similar significance have occurred at various points, espec- 
ially in Virguiia. 



182 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

more contented people in the world ; they were not driven hard, 
and work was stopped three times a day tor meals ; they had 
plenty to eat, and good clothes ; and throngh the whole year 
they had from Friday night to Monday morning to do what they 
liked with themselves. Saturdays, the men generally worked in 
their patches (private gardens,) and the women washed and 
mended clothes. Sundays, they nearly all went to a Sabbath 
School which the mistress taught, and to meeting, but they were 
not obliged to go ; they could come and go as they pleased all 
Saturday and Sunday ; they w^ere not looked after at all. Only 
on Monday morning, if there should any one be missing, or any 
one should come to the field with ragged or dirty clothes, he would 
be whipped. He had often noticed how much more intelligent 
and sprightly these negroes all were than the common run ; a 
great many of them had books and could read and write ; and 
on Sundays they were smartly dressed, some of them better than 
he or his wife ever thought of dressing. These things were pur- 
chased with the money they made out of their patches, working 
Saturdays. 

There were two other large plantations near him, in both of 
which the negroes were turned out to work at half past three 
every week-day morning — I might hear the bell ring for them — • 
and frequently they were not stopped till nine o'clock at night, 
Saturday nights the same as any other. One of them belonged 
to a very religious lady, and on Sunday mornings at half past 
nine she had her bell rung for Sunday School, and after Sunday 
School they had a meeting, and after dinner another religious ser- 
vice. Every negro on the plantation was obliged to attend all 
these exercises, and if they were not dressed clean they were 
whipped. They were never allowed to go off the plantation, 



THE INTERIOR COTTON DISTRICTS. 183 

and if they were caught speaking to a negro from any other 
place, they were whipped. They could all of them repeat the 
catechism, he believed, but they were the dullest, and laziest, and 
most sorrowful looking negroes he ever saw. 

As a general rule, the condition of the slaves, as regards their 
material comfort, had greatly improved within twenty years. He 
did not know that it had in other respects. It would not be a 
bit safer to turn them free, to shift for themselves, than it would 
have been twenty years ago. Of this he was quite confident. 
Perhaps they were a little more intelligent, knew more, but they 
were not as capable of self-guidance, not as much accustomed to 
work and contrive for themselves, as they used to be, when they 
were not fed and clothed nearly as well as now. 

Beyond the excessive labor required of them on some planta- 
tions, he did not think slaves were often treated with unneces- 
sary cruelty. It was necessary to use the lash occasionally. 
Slaves never really felt under any moral obligation to obey their 
masters. Faithful service was preached to them as a Christian 
duty, and they pretended to acknowledge it, but the fact was that 
they were obedient just so far as they saw that they must be to 
avoid punishment; and punishment was necessary, now and then, 
to maintain their faith in their master's power. He had seven- 
teen slaves, and he did not suppose that there had been a hun- 
dred strokes of the whip on his place for a year past. 

He asked if there were many Americans in Texas who were 
opposed to slavery, and if they were free to express themselves. 
I said that the wealthy Ameiicans there, w^ere all slaveholders 
themselves; that their influence all went to encourage the use of 
slave-labor, and render labor by whites disreputable. " But are 
there not a good many northern men there?" he asked. The 



184 A JOURNEY IN THE HACK COUNTRY. 

northern men, I replied, were chiefly merchants or speculators, 
who had but one idea, which was to make money as fast as they 
could; and nearly all the little money there was in that country 
was in the hands of the largest slaveholders. 

If that was the way of things there, he said, there could not be 
much chance of its becoming a free State. I thought the chances 
were against it, but if the Germans continued to flock into the 
country, it would rapidly acquire all the characteristic features of 
a free-labor community, including an abundance and variety of 
skilled labor, a home market for a variety of crops, denser settle- 
ments, and more numerous social, educational and commercial 
conveniences. There would soon be a large body of small pro- 
prietors, not so wealthy that the stimulus to personal and active 
industry would have been lost, but yet able to indulge in a good 
many luxuries, to found churches, schools, and railroads, and to 
attract thither tradesmen, mechanics, professional men and artists. 
Moreover, the laborers who were not landholders would be inti- 
mately blended with them in all their interests ; the two classes 
not living dissociated from each other, as was the case generally 
at the South, but engaged in a constant fulfillment of reciprocal 
obligations. I told him that if such a character of society could 
once be firmly and extensively established before the country was 
partitioned out into these little independent negro kingdoms, 
which had existed from the beginning in every other part of 
the South, I did not think any laws would be necessary to pre- 
vent slavery. It might be a slave State, but it would be a free 
people. 

On coming from my room in the morning, my host met me 
with a hearty grasp of the hand. *' I have slept very little with 
thinking of what you told me about western Texas. I think I 



THE INTEKIOR COTTON DISTRICTS. 185 

shall have to go there. If we could get rid of slavery in this 
region, I believe we would soon be the most prosperous people in 
the world. What a disadvantage it must be to have your ground 
all frozen up and to be obliged to fodder your cattle five months 
in the year, as you do at the North. I do n't see how you live. 
I think I should like to buy a small farm near some town where 
I could send my children to school — a farm that I could take 
care of with one or two hired men. One thing I wanted to ask 
you, are the Germans learning English at all ?" " Oh, yes ; 
they teach the children English in their schools." "And have 
they good schools ?" " Wherever they have settled at all closely, 
they have. At New Braunfels, they employ American as well as 
German teachers, and instruction can be had in the classics, 
natural history, and the higher mathematics." " Upon my word, 
I think I must go there," he replied. (Since then, as I hear, an 
educational institution of a high character, has been established, 
by German influence, in San Antonio, teachers in which are 
from Harvard.) 

W^hen I left, he mounted a horse and rode on with me some 
miles, saying he did not often find an intelligent man who liked 
to converse with him on the question of slavery. It seemed to 
him there was an epidemic insanity on the subject. It is un- 
necessary to state his views at length. They were precisely those 
Avhich used to be common among all respectable men at the 
South. I have recently received a letter from him, in which, 
after alluding to the excitement Avhich the Kansas question has 
produced, he says he thinks a considerable change of sentiment 
has occurred, in consequence of reading and talking about Kan- 
sas difiiculties, among his neighbors. He is fully determined to 
go to western Texas, and reckons as many as ten families and 



186 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

thirty single men would go with him, if there Avere a prospect 
that free servants and laborers could be hired there and negroes 
be kept away. 

As we rode, an old negro met and greeted us warmly. My 
companion hereupon observed that he had never uttered his sen- 
timents in the presence of a slave, but in some way all the slaves 
in the country had, he thought, been informed what they were, 
for they all looked to him as their special friend. When they 
got into trouble, they would often come to him for advice or 
assistance. This morning, before I was up, a negro came to him 
from some miles distant, who had been working for a white man 
on Sundays till he owed him three dollars, which, now that the 
negro wanted it, he said he could not pay. He had given the 
negro the three dollars, for he thought he could manage to get it 
from the white man. 

He confirmed the impression I had formed of the purely 
dramatic and deceptive character of what passed for religion with 
most of the slaves. One of his slaves was a preacher, and a favor- 
ite among them. He sometimes went to plantations twenty 
miles away — even further — on a Sunday, to preach a funeral ser- 
mon, making journeys of fifty miles a day, on foot. After the 
sermon, a hat would be passed round, and he sometimes brought 
home as much as ten dollars. He was a notable pedestrian ; 
and once when he had committed some abominable crime for 
which he knew he would have to be punished, and had ran away, 
he (Mr. "Watson) rode after him almost immediately, often got 
in sight of him, but did not overtake him until the second day, 
when starting early in the morning he overhauled him crossing a 
broad, smooth field. When the run-away parson saw that he 
could not escape, he jumped up into a tree and called out to him, 



THE INTERIOR COTTON DISTRICTS. 187" 

with an aggravatingly cheerful voice, " I gin ye a good run dis 
time, didn't I, massa?" He was the most rascally negro, the 
worst liar, thief, and adulterer on his place. Indeed, when he 
was preaching, he always made a strong point of his own sin- 
fulness, and would weep and bellow about it like a bull of Bashan, 
till he got a whole camp meeting into convulsions. 



This phrase reminds me of a scene which I witnessed in 
New Orleans, and as I have not yet described any of the 
religious services of the negroes, except that observed at a 
funeral, I will here give an account of it, which was written the 
same day. 

A SLAVE RELIGIOUS SERVICE IN NEW ORLEANS. 

Walking this morning through a rather mean neighborhood I 
was attracted, by a loud chorus singing, to the open door of a 
chapel or small church. I found a large congregation of negroes 
assembled within, and the singing being just then concluded, and 
a negro preacher commencing a sermon, I entered an empty 
pew near the entrance. I had no sooner taken a seat than a 
negro usher came to me and, in the most polite manner, whis- 
pered, 

" Won't you please to let me give you a seat higher up, mas- 
ter, 'long o' tudder white folks ?" 

I followed him to the uppermost seat, facing the pulpit, where 
there were three other white persons. One of them was a 
woman — old, very plain, and not as well dressed as many of the 
negroes ; another looked like a ship's officer, and was probably a 



188 A JOURNEY IX THE BACK COUNTKY. 

member of the police force in undress — what we call a spy when 
we detect it in Europe; both of these remained diligently and 
gravely attentive during the service; the third was a foreign- 
looking person, very flashily dressed, and sporting a yellow- 
headed walking-stick, and much cheap jewelry. 

The remainder of the congregation consisted entirely ot 
colored persons, many of them, however, with light hair and 
hardly any perceptible indications of having African blood. On 
the step of the chancel were a number of children, and among 
these one of the loveliest young girls that I ever saw. She was 
a light mulatto, and had an expression of unusual intelligence and 
vivacity. During the service she frequently smiled, I thought 
derisively, at the emotions and excitement betrayed by the older 
people about her. She was elegantly dressed, and was accom- 
panied by a younger sister, who was also dressed expensively and 
in good taste, but who was a shade darker, though much removed 
from the blackness of the true negro, and of very good features 
and pleasant expression. 

The preacher was nearly black, with close wooly hair. His 
figure was slight, he seemed to be about thirty years of age, and 
the expression of his face indicated a refined and delicately sen- 
sitive nature. His eye was very fine, bright, deep and clear ; 
his voice and manner gener.dly quiet and impressive. 

The text was, "I have fought the good fight, I have kept 
the faith ; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of glory ;" 
and the sermon was an appropriate and generally correct ex- 
planation of the customs of the Olympic games, and a proper 
and often eloquent application of the figure to the Chris- 
tian course of life. Much of the language was highly meta- 
phorical ; the figures long, strange and complicated, yet some- 



THE INTERIOR COTTON DISTRICTS. 189 

times, however, beautiful. Words were frequentl}^ misplaced, 
and their meaning evidently misapprehended, while the grammar 
and pronunciation were sometimes such as to make the idea 
intended to be conveyed by the speaker incomprehensible to me. 
Vulgarisms and slang phrases occasionally occurred, but evidently 
■without any consciousness of impropriety on the part of the 
speaker or his congregation. 

As soon as I had taken my seat, my attention was attracted by 
an old negro near me, whom I supposed for some time to be 
sufiering under some nervous complaint ; he trembled, his 
teeth chattered, and his face, at intervals, was convulsed. He 
soon began to respond aloud to the sentiments of the preacher, 
in such words as these: "Oh, yes!" "That's it, that's it!" 
" Yes, yes — glory — yes !" and similar expressions could be heai'd 
from all parts of the house whenever the speaker's voice was 
unusually solemn, or his language and manner eloquent or 
excited. 

Sometimes the outcries and i-esponses were not confined to 
ejaculations of this kind, but shouts, and groans, terrific shrieks, 
and indescribable expressions of ecstacy — of pleasure or agony — 
and even stamping, jumping, and clapping of hands, were added. 
The tumult often resembled that of an excited political meeting ; 
and I was once surprised to find my own muscles all stretched, as 
if ready for a struggle — my face glowing, and my feet stamping — 
having been infected unconsciously, as men often are, with in- 
stinctive bodily sympathy with the excitement of the crowd. 
So wholly unintellectual was the basis of this excitement, how- 
ever, that I could not, when my mind retroverted to itself, find 
any connection or meaning in the phrases of the speaker that 
remained in my memory; and I have no doubt it was his 



190 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUXTEY. 

" action" rather than his sentiments, that had given rise to the 
excitement of the congregation. 

I took notes as well as I could of a single passage of the ser- 
mon. The preacher having said that among the games of the 
arena, were "raaslin" (wrestling) and boxing, and described how 
a combatant determined to win the prize, would come boldly up 
to his adversary and stand square before him, looking him 
straight in the eyes, and while he guarded himself with one hand, 
would give him "a lick" with the other, continued in these 
words : "Then would he stop, and turn away his face, and let the 
adversary hit back? No, my brethren, no, no I he'd follow up 
liis advantage, and give him another lick ; and if he fell back, 
he 'd keep close after him, and not stop ! — and not faint !— not be 
content with merely driving him back ! — but he 'd j^erscvere ! 
(yes, glory !) and hit him again ! (that 's it, hit him again ! hit 
him again ! oh, glory ! hi ! hi ! glory !) drive him into the 
corner! and never, never stop till he had him down! (glory^ 
glory, glory !) and he had got his foot on his neck, and the 
crown of wild olive leaves was placed upon his head by the lord 
of the games. (Ha ! ha ! glory to the Lord ! etc.) It was the 
custom of the Olympian games, my brethren, for the victor to 
be crowned with a crown of wild olive leaves ; but sometimes, 
after all, it would n't be awarded right, because the lord of the 
games was a, poor, frail, erroneous man, and maybe he couldn't 
see right, or maybe he wasn't an honest roan, and would have his 
favorites among the combatants, and if his favorite was beaten, 
he would not allow it, but would declare that he was the victor, 
and the crown would descend on hh head {glory !) But there 
ain't no danger of that in our fight with the world, for our Lord 
is throned in justice. (Glory! — oh, yes! yes! — sweet Lord! 



THE INTERIOR COTTON DISTRTCTS. 191 

sweet Lord!) He scetli in secret, and he knowcth all things, 
and there 's no chance for a mistake, and if we only will just 
persevere and conquer, and conquer and persevere (yes, sir I oh. 
Lord, yes !), and persevere — not for a year, or for two year, or 
ten year; nor for seventy year, perhaps ; but if we persevere — 
(yes ! yes !) — if we persevere — (oh ! Lord ! help ns !) — if we 
persevere unto the end — (oh! oh ! glory! glory ! glory!) — until 
he calls us home ! (Frantic shouting.) Henceforth there is laid 
up for us a crown of immortal glory — (Ha ! ha ! HA !) — not a 
crown of wild olive leaves that begin to droop as soon as they 
touch our brow, (oh ! oh ! oh !) but a crown of immortal glory ! 
That fadeth not away ! Never begins to droop ! But is immor- 
tal in the heavens !" Tremendous uproar, many of the congrega- 
tion on their feet, and uttering cries and shrieks impossible to be 
expressed in letters. The shabby gentleman by my side, who had 
been asleep, suddenly awakened, dropped his stick, and shouted 
with all his might, " Glory to the Lord !" 

The body of the house was filled by the audience ; there were 
galleries, but few persons were in them ; on one side, two or 
three boys, and on the other, on the seat nearest the pulpit, 
about a dozen women. 

The preacher was drawing his sermon to a close, and offering 
some sensible and pertinent advice, soberly and calmly, and the 
congregation was attentive and comparatively quiet, when a 
small old woman, perfectly black, among those in the gallery, 
suddenly rose, and began dancing and clapping her hands ; at 
first, with a slow and measured movement, and then with in- 
creasing rapidity, at the same time beginning to shout " ha ! ha /" 
The women about her arose also, and tried to hold her, as there 
appeared great danger that she would fall out of the gallery, 



192 A JOURNEr IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

and those below, left their pews that she might not fall upon 
them. 

The preacher continued his remarks — much the best part of 
his sermon — but it was plain that they were wasted ; every one 
was looking at the dancing woman in the gallery, and many were 
shouting and laughing aloud (in joyful sympathy, I suppose). 
His eye flashed as he glanced anxiously from the woman to the 
people, and then stopping in the middle of a sentence, a sad 
smile came over his face ; he closed the book, and bowed his 
head upon his hands to the desk, A voice in the congregation 
struck into a tune, and the whole congregation rose and joined 
in a roaring song. The woman was still shouting and dancing, 
her head thrown back and rolling from one side to the other. 
Gradually her shout became indistinct, she threw her arms wildly 
about instead of clapping her hands, fell back into the arms of 
her companions, then threw herself forward and embraced those 
before her, then tossed herself from side to side, gasping, and 
finally sunk to the floor, where she remained at the end of the 
song, kicking, as if acting a death struggle. 

Another man now rose in the pulpit, and gave out a hymn, 
naming number and page, and holding a book before him, though 
I thought he did not read from it, and I did not see another book 
in the house. Having recited seven verses, and repeated the 
number and page of the hymn, he closed the book and com- 
menced to address tbe congregation. He w^as a tall, fnll- 
blooded negro, very black, and with a disgusting expression of 
sensuality, cunning and vanity in his countenance, and a pomp- 
ous, patronizing manner — a striking contrast, in all respects, to 
the prepossessing quiet and modest young preacher who had pre- 
ceded him. He was dressed in the loosest form of the fashion- 



THE INTERIOR COTTON DISTRICTS. 193 

able sack overcoat, which he threw oft" presently, showing a 
white vest, gaudy cravat, and a tight cut-away coat, linked to- 
gether at the breast with jet buttons. lie commenced by pro- 
posing to further elucidate the meaning of the apostle's words; 
they had an important bearing, he said, which his brother had not 
had time to bring out adequately before the congregation. At 
first he leaned carelessly on the pulpit cushion, laughing cun- 
ningly, and spoke in a low, deep, hoarse, indistinct and confi- 
dential tone, but soon he struck a higher key, drawling his sen- 
tences like a street salesman, occasionally breaking out into a 
yell Avith all the strength of extraordinarily powerful lungs, at 
the same time taking a striking attitude and gesturing in an ex- 
traordinary manner. This would create a frightful excitement 
in the people, and be responded to with the loudest and most 
terrific shouts. I can compare them to nothing else human 1 
ever heard. Sometimes he would turn from the audience and 
assume a personal opponent to be standing by his side in the 
pulpit. Then, after battling for a few minutes in an awful and 
majestic manner with this man of Belial, whom he addressed 
constantly as " sir !" he would turn again to the admiring con- 
gregation, and in a familiar, gratulatory and conversational tone 
explain the difficulty into which he had got him, and then again 
suddenly turn back upon him, and in a boxing attitude give an- 
other knock-down reply to his heretical propositions. 

llis language was in a great part unintelligible to me, but the 
congregation seemed to enjoy it highly, and encouraged and as- 
sisted him in his combat with "Sir" Knight of his imagination 
most tumultuously, and I soon found that this poor gentleman, 
over whom he rode his high horse so fiercely, was one of those 



194 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUXTRY. 

"who take unto themselves the name of Baptist," and that the 
name of his own charo-er was ^'' Perseverance-of-thc-Saintsr 

The only intelligible argument that I could discover, was pre- 
sented under the following circumstances. Having made his sup- 
posed adversary assert that " if a man w^ould only just believe 
and let him bury him under de water, he would be saved," — he 
caught up the big pulpit Bible, and using it as a catapult, pre- 
tended to hurl from it the reply — *' Except ye persevere and fight 
de good fight unto de end, ye shall be damned !" " That 's it, 
that 's it !" shouted the delighted audience. " Yes ! you shall be 
damned ! Ah ! you 've got it now, have ye ! Pooh I — Wha 's de 
use o' his tellin' us dat ar?" he continued, turning to the congre- 
gation with a laugh ; " wha 's de use on 't, when we know dat a 
month arter he's buried 'em under de water — whar do we find 
'em ? Ha ? ah ha ! AVhah ? In de grog-shop ! (ha ! ha ! ha ! 
ha !) Yes we do, do n't we ? (Yes ! yes !) In de rum-hole ! 
(Ha ! ha ! ha ! Yes ! yes ! oh Lord !) and we know de spirit of 
rum and de Spirit of God has n't got no 'finities. (Yah ! ha ! ha ! 
yes ! yes ! dat 's it ! dat 's it ! oh, my Jesus ! Oh ! oh ! glory ! 
glory !) Sut'nly, sah ! You may launch out upon de ocean a 
drop of oil way up to Virginny, and we'll launch annudder one 
heah to Lusiana, and when dey meets — no matter how far dey 
been gone — -dey '11 unite I Why, sah ? Because dey 's got de 
'finities, sah ! But de spirit of rum haint got nary sort o' 'finity 
with de Spirit — " etc. 

Three of the congregation threw themselves into hysterics 
during this harangue, though none were so violent as that of the 
woman in the gallery. The man I had noticed first from his 
strange convulsive motions, was shaking as if in a violent ague, 
and frequently snatched the sleeve of his coat in his teeth as if 



THE INTERIOR COTTON DISTRICTS. 195 

he would rend it. The speaker at length returned to the hymn, 
repeated the number and page and the first two lines. These 
were sung, and he repeated the next, and so on, as in the Scotch 
Presbyterian service. The congregation sang ; I think every 
one joined, even the children, and the collective sound was won- 
derful. The voices of one or two women rose above the rest, 
and one of these soon began to introduce variations, which con- 
sisted mainly of shouts of oh ! oh ! at a piercing height. Many 
of the singers kept time with their feet, balancing themselves on 
each alternately, and swinging their bodies accordingly. The 
reading of the lines would be accompanied also by shouts, as 
during the previous discourse. 

When the preacher had concluded reading the last two lines, 
as the singing again proceeded, he raised his own voice above all, 
turned around, clapped his hands, and commenced to dance, and 
laughed aloud, first with his back, and then with his face to the 
audience. 

The singing ceased, but he continued his movements, leaping, 
with increasing agility, from one side of the pulpit to the other. 
The people below laughed and shouted, and the two other preach- 
ers who were shut into the pulpit with the dancer, tried hard to 
keep out of his way, and threw forward their arms or shoulders, 
to fend off his powerful buffets as he surged about between them. 
Swinging out his arms at random, with a blow of his fist he 
knocked the great Bible spinning off the desk, to the great dan- 
ger of the children below ; then threw himself back, jamming 
the old man, who was trying to restrain him, against the wall. 

At the next heave, he pitched headforemost into the young 
preacher, driving him through the door and falling with him half 
down the stairs, and after bouncing about a few moments, jerk- 



196 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

ing his arms and legs violently, like a supple-jack, in every direc- 
tion, and all the time driving his breath with all the noise possi- 
ble between his set teeth, and trying to foam at the mouth and 
act an epileptic fit, there he lay as if dead, the young preacher, 
with the same sad smile, and something of shame on his face, 
sitting on the stair holding his head on his shoulder, and grasp- 
ing one of his hands, while his feet were extended up into the 
pulpit. 

The third man in the pulpit, a short, aged negro, with a 
smiling face, and a pleasing manner, took the Bible, which was 
handed up to him by one of the congregation, laid it upon the 
desk, and, leaning over it, told the people, in a gentle, conversa- 
tional tone, that the " love feast" would be held at four o'clock ; 
gave some instructions about the tickets of admission, and 
severely reproved those who were in the habit of coming late, 
and insisting upon being let in after the doors were locked. He 
then announced that the doxology would be sung, which accord- 
ingly followed, another woman going into hysterics at the close. 
The prostrate man rose, and released the young preacher, who 
pronounced the Apostles' blessing, and the congregation slowly 
passed out, chatting and saluting one another politely as they 
went, and bearing not the slightest mark of the previous excite- 
ment. 



The night after leaving Mr. AVatson's I was kindly received by 
a tradesman, who took me, after closing his shop, to his mother's 
house, a log cabin, but more comfortable than many more pre- 
tentious residences at which I passed a night on this journey. 



THE INTERIOR COTTON DISTRICTS. lOV 

Foi the first time in many months tea was offered me. It was 
coarse Bohea, sweetened with honey, which was stirred into the 
tea as it boiled in a kettle over the fire, by the old lady herself, 
whose especial luxury it seemed to be. She asked me if folks 
ever drank tea at the North, and when I spoke of green tea, said 
she had never heard of that kind of tea before. They owned a 
number of slaves, but the young man looked after my horse him- 
self. There was a good assortment of books and newspapers 
at this house, and the people Avere quite intelligent and very 
amiable. 

A NIGHT WITH A " POOR WHITE." 

The next day, I passed a number of small Indian farms, very 
badly cultivated — the corn nearly concealed by weeds. The 
soil became poorer than before, and the cabins of poor people 
more frequent. I counted about ten plantations, or negro-culti- 
vated farms, in twenty miles. A planter, at whose house I called 
after sunset, said it was not convenient for him to accommodate 
me, and I was obliged to ride till it was quite dark. The next 
house, at which I arrived, was one of the commonest sort of 
cabins. I had passed twenty like it during the day, and I 
thought I would take the opportunity to get an interior knowl- 
edge of them. The fact that a horse and wagon were kept, and 
that a considerable area of land in the rear of the cabin was 
planted with cotton, showed that the family were by no means of 
the lowest class, yet, as they were not able even to hire a slave, 
ihey may be considered to represent very favorably, I believe, 
the condition of the poor whites of the plantation districts. The 
whites of the county, I observe, by the census, are three to one 
of the slaves; in the nearest adjoining county, the proportion is 



198 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

reversed ; and -svitliin a few miles the soil was richer, and large 
plantations occurred. 

It was raining, and nearly nine o'clock. The door of the 
cabin was open, and I rode up and conversed with the occupant 
as he stood within. He said that he was not in the habit of 
taking in travelers, and his wife was about sick, but if I was a 
mind to put up with common fare, he did n't care. Grateful, I 
dismounted and took the seat he had vacated by the fire, while 
he led away my horse to an open shed in the rear — his own 
horse ranging at large, when not in use, during the suminer. 

The house was all comprised in a single room, twenty-eight by 
twenty-five feet in area, and open to the roof above. There was 
a large fireplace at one end and a door on each side — no windows 
at all. Two bedsteads, a spinning-wheel, a packing-case, which 
served as a bureau,, a cupboard, made of rough hewn slabs, two 
or three deer-skin seated chairs, a Connecticut clock, and a large 
poster of Jayne's patent medicines, constituted all the visible fur- 
niture either nseful or ornamental in purpose. A little girl imme- 
diately, without having had any directions to do so, got a frying- 
pan and a chunk of bacon from the cupboard, and cutting slices 
from the latter, set it frying for my supper. The woman of the 
house sat sulkily in a chair tilted back and leaning against the 
logs, spitting occasionally at the fire, but took no notice of me, 
barely nodding when I saluted her, A baby lay crying on the 
floor. I quieted it and amused it with my watch till the little 
girl, having made " coftee" and put a piece of corn-bread on the 
table with the bacon, took charge of it. 

I hoped the woman was not very ill. 

"Got the headache right bad," she answered. "Have the 
headache a heap, I do. Knew I should have it to-night. Been 



THE INTERIOR COTTON DISTRICTS. 199 

cuttin' brush in the cotton this arternoon. Knew 't would bring 
on m}' headache. Told him so when I begun." 

As soon as I had finished my supper and fed Jude, the little 
girl put the fragments and the dishes in the cupboard, shoved the 
table into a corner, and dragged a quantity of quilts from one of 
the bedsteads, wdiich she spread upon the floor, and presently 
crawled among them out of sight for the night. The Avoman 
picked up the child — which, though still a suckling, she said was 
twenty-two months old — and nursed it, retaking her old position. 
The man sat with me by the fire, his back towards her. The 
baby having fallen asleep was laid away somewhere, and the 
woman dragged off another lot of quilts from the beds, spreading 
them upon the floor. Then taking a deep tin-pan, she filled it 
with alternate layers of corn-cobs and hot embers from the fii'e. 
This she pUxced upon a large block, which was evidently used 
habitually for the purpose, in the center of the cabin. A furious 
smoke arose from it, and we soon began to cough. "Most too 
much smoke," observed the man. " Hope 't will drive out all 
the gnats, then," replied the woman. (There is a very minute 
flying insect here, the bite of which is excessively sharp.) 

The Avoman suddenly dropped off her outer garment and 
stepped from the midst of its folds, in her petticoat; then, taking 
the baby from the place where she had deposited it, lay down 
and covered herself with the quilts upon the floor. The man 
told me that I could take the bed which remained on one of the 
bedsteads, and kicking oft' his shoes only, rolled himself into a 
blanket by the side of his wife. I ventured to take oft' my cra- 
vat and stockings, as well as my boots, but almost immediately 
put my stockings on again, drawing their tops over my panta- 
loons. The advantage of this arrangement Avas that, although 



200 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

my face, eyes, ears, neck, and hands, were immediately attacked, 
the vermin did not reach my legs for two or three houi's. Just 
after the clock struck two, I distinctly heard the man and the 
woman, and the girl and the dog scratching, and the horse out in 
the shed stamping and gnawing himself. Soon afterward the 
man exclaimed, '' Good God Almighty — mighty ! mighty ! 
mighty !" and jumping up, pulled off one of his stockings, shook 
it, scratched his foot vehemently, put on the stocking, and lay 
down again with a groan. The two doors were open, and 
through the logs and the openings in the roof, I saw the clouds 
divide, and the moon and stars reveal themselves. The woman, 
after having been nearly smothered by the smoke from the pan 
which she had originally placed close to her own pillow, rose and 
placed it on the sill of the windward door, where it burned feebly 
and smoked lustily, like an altar to the Lares, all night. For- 
tunately the cabin was so open that it gave us little annoyance, 
while it seemed to answer the purpose of keeping all flying 
insects at a distance. 

When, on risinpf in the mornino;, I said that I would like to 
wash my face, water was given me for the purpose in an earthen 
pie-dish. Just as breakfast, wdiich was of exactly the same ma- 
terials as my supper, was ready, rain again began to fall, presently 
in such a smart shower as to put the fire out and compel us to 
move the table under the least leaky part of the roof. 

At breakfast occurred the following conversation : 

" Are there many niggers in New York ?" 

"Very few." 

" How do you get your Avork done ?" 

" There are many Irish and German people constantly coming 
there who are glad to get work to do." 



THE INTERIOR COTTON DISTRICTS. 201 

" Oh, and you have them for slaves?" 

" They want money and are willing to work for it. A great 
many American-born work for wages, too." 

" What do you have to pay ?" 

" Ten or twelve dollars a month." 

"There was a heap of Irishmen to work on the railroad; they 
was paid a dollar a day ; there was a good many Americans, too, 
but mostly they had little carts and mules, and hauled dirt and 
sicli like. They was paid twenty -five or thirty dollars a mon;^i 
and found." 

"What did they find them ?" 

" Oh, blanket and shoes, I expect ; they put up kind o' tents 
like for 'em to sleep in all together." 

" What food did they find them ?" 

" Oh, common food ; bacon and meal." 

" What do they generally give the niggers on the plantations 
here?" 

" A peck of meal and three pound of bacon is what they call 
'lowance, in general, I believe. It takes a heap o' meat on a big 
plantation. I was on one of William R. King's plantations over 
in Alabamy, where there was about fifty niggers, one Snnday 
last summer, and I see 'era weighin' outen the meat Tell you, 
it took a powerful lieap on it. They had an old nigger to weigh 
it out, and he warn't no ways partickler about the weight. He 
just took and chopped it off, middlins, in chunks, and he'd 
throw 'em into the scales, and if a piece weighed a pound or two 
over he would n't mind it ; he never took none back. Ain't nig- 
gers all-fired sassy at the North ?" 

" No, not particularly." 

" Aint they all free, there ? I hearn so." 



202 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

" Yes." 

" Well, how do they get along when they 's free ?" 

" I never have seen a great many, to know their circumstances 
very well. Right about where I live they seem to me to live 
quite comfortably ; more so than the niggers on these big plan- 
tations do, I should think." 

" ! They have a mighty hard time on the big plantations. 
I 'd ruther be dead than to be a nigger on one of these big planta- 
tions." 

" Why, I thought they were pretty well taken care of on 
them." 

The man and his wife both looked at me as if surprised, and 
smiled. 

" Why, they are well fed, are they not ?" 

" Oh, but they work 'em so hard. My God, sir, in pickin' 
time on these big plantations they start 'cm to work 'fore light, 
and they do n't give 'em time to eat." 

" I supposed they generally gave them an hour or two at 
noon." 

"No, sir; they just carry a piece of bread and meat in their 
pockets and they eat it when they can, standin' up. They have 
a hard life on 't, that 's a fact. I reckon you can get along about 
as well withoutcn slaves as with 'em, can't you, in New York ?" 

" In New York there is not nearly so large a proportion of 
very rich men as here. There are very few people who farm 
over three hundred acres, and the greater number — nineteen out 
of twenty, I suppose — work themselves with the hands they em- 
ploy. Yes, I think it 's better than it is here, for all concerned, 
a great deal. Folks that can't aftbrd to buy niggers get along a 
great deal better in the free States, I think ; and I guess that 



THE INTERIOR COTTON DISTRICTS. 203 

those who could afford to have niggers get along better without 
them." 

" I no doubt that 's so. I wish there warn't no niggers here. 
They are a great cuss to this country, I expect. But 't would n't 
do to free 'era ; that would n't do no how I" 

GET RID OF THE NIGGERS. 

" Are there many people here who think slavery a curse to the 
country ?" 

" Oh, yes, a great many. I reckon the majority would be right 
glad if we could get rid of the niggers. But it Avould n't never do 
to free 'em and leave 'em here. I do n't know anybody, hardly, 
in favor of that. Make 'em free and leave 'em here and they 'd 
steal every thing we made. Nobody could n't live here then." 

These views of slavery seem to be universal among people of 
this class. They were repeated to me at least a dozen times. 

NIGGER PANICS. 

" Where I used to live, [Alabama] I remember when I was a 
boy — must ha' been about twenty years ago — folks- was dreadful 
frightened about the niggers. I remember they built pens in the 
woods where they could hide, and Christmas time they went and 
got into the pens, 'fraid the niggers was risin.' " 

" I remember the same time where we was in South Carolina," 
said his wife; " we had all our things put up in bags, so we could 
tote 'em, if we heerd they was comin' our way." 

They did not suppose the niggers ever thought of rising now, 
but could give no better reason for not supposing so than that 
" everybody said there warn't no danger on 't now." 

Hereabouts the plantations were generally small, ten to twenty 



204 A JOURNEY IN THK BACK COUNTRY. 

negroes on each ; sometimes thirty or forty. Where he used to 
live they were big ones — forty or fifty, sometimes a hundred on 
each. He had lived here ten yeai's. I could not make out why 
he had not accumulated wealth, so small a family and such an in- 
expensive style of living as he had. He generally planted twenty 
to thirty acres, he said ; this year he had sixteen in cotton and 
about ten, he thought, in corn. Decently cultivated, this plant- 
ing should have produced him five hundred dollars' worth of 
cotton, besides supplying him with bread and bacon — his chief ex- 
pense, apparently. I suggested that this was a very large phant- 
ing for his little family ; he would need some help in picking 
time. He ought to have some now, he said ; grass and bushes 
were all overgrowing him ; he had to work just like a nigger ; 
this durnation rain would just make the weeds jump, and he 
did n't expect he should have any cotton at all. There warn't 
much use in a man's trying to get along by himself; every thing 
seemed to set in agin him. He 'd been trying to hire somebody, 
but he could n't, and his wife was a sickly kind of a woman. 

His wife reckoned he might hire some help if he 'd look round 
sharp. 

My horse and dog were as well cared for as possible, and a 
" snack" of bacon and corn-bread was offered me for noon, 
which has been unusual in Mississippi. When I asked what I 
should pay, the man hesitated and said he reckoned what I had 
had, was n't worth much of any thing ; he was sorry he could not 
have accommodated me better. I off'ered him a dollar, for which 
he thanked me warmly. It is the first instance of hesitation in 
charging for a lodging which I have met with from a stranger 
at the South. 



CHAPTER V. 

THE PIEDMONT COTTON DISTRICT. 
NORTHERN ALABAMA. 

Omitting a portion of my journey, in which the general char- 
acteristics of the country through which I passed, diftered not 
materially from those of the district described in the last chap- 
ter, I resume my narrative at the point where, in my progress 
northward, it was first evident that cotton was no longer the all- 
important object of agricultural interest, other crops receiving, at 
least, equal attention. 

June — . I have to-day reached a more distinctly hilly coun- 
try — somewhat rocky and rugged, but with inviting dells. The 
soil is sandy and less irequently fertile ; cotton-fields are seen only 
at long intervals, the crops on the small proportion of cultivated 
land being chiefly corn and oats. I notice also that white men 
are more commonly at work in the fields than negroes, and this 
as well in the cultivation of cotton as of corn. 

Tlie larger number of the dwellings are rude log huts, of only 
one room, and that unwholesomely crowded. I saw in and 
about one of them, not more than fifteen feet square, five grown 
persons, and as many children. Occasionally, however, the mo- 
notony of these huts is agreeably varied by neat, white, frame 
houses. At one such, I dined to-day, and was comfortably enter- 
tained. The owner held a number of slaves, but made no cot- 



206 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

ton. He owned a saw mill, was the postmaster of the neighbor- 
hood, and had been in the Legislature. 

I asked him why the capital had been changed from Tusca- 
loosa to Montgomery. He did not know. " Because Mont- 
gomery is more central and easy of access, probably," I suggested. 
" No, I do n't think that had any thing to do with it." " Is Tus- 
caloosa an unhealthy place ?" " No, sir ; healthier than Mont- 
gomery, I reckon." "Was it then simply because the people of 
the southern districts were stronger, and used their power to 
make the capital more convenient of access to themselves?" 
" Well, no, I do n't think that was it, exactly. The fact is, sir, 
the people here are not like you northern people ; they do n't 
reason out every thing so. They are fond of change, and they 
got tired of Tuscaloosa ; the Montgomery folks wanted it there 
and offered to pay for moving it, so they let 'em have it ; 't was 
just for a change." " If there really was no better reason, w^as it 
not rather wasteful to give up all the public buildings at Tusca- 
loosa ?" " Oh, the Montgomery people wanted it so bad they 
promised to pay for building a new State House ; so it did not 
cost any thing." 

Quite on a par with the economics of southern commercial 
conventions. 

COTTON-GROWING FARMERS. 

I passed the night at the second framed house that I saw dur- 
ing the day, stopping early in order to avail myself of its 
promise of comfort. It Avas attractively situated on a hill-top, 
with a peach orchard near it. The proprietor owned a dozen 
slaves, and "made cotton," he said, "with other crops." He 



THE PIEDMONT COTTON DISTRICT. 207 

had some of his neighbors at tea and at breakfast; sociable, 
kindly people, satisfied with themselves and their circumstances, 
which I judged from their conversation had been recently im- 
proving. One coming in, remarked that he had discharged a 
white laborer whom he had employed for some time past ; 
the others congratulated him on being " shet" of him ; all 
seemed to have noticed him as a bad, lazy man; he had often 
been seen lounging in the field, rapping the negroes with his hoe 
if they did n't work to suit him. " He was about the meanest 
white man I ever see," said a woman ; " he was a heap meaner -n 
niggers. I reckon niggers would come somewhere between white 
folks and such as he." " The first thing I tell a man," said an- 
other, "when I hire him, is, ' if there's any whippin' to be done 
on this place I want to do it myself.' If I saw a man rappin' 
my niggers with a hoe-handle, as I see him, durned if I would n't 
rap him — the lazy whelp." 

One of the negroes complimented my horse. "Dar's a heap 
of genus in dat yar boss's head !" The proprietor looked after 
the feeding himself. 

These people were extremely kind ; inquiring with the simplest 
good feeling about my domestic relations, and the purpose of my 
journey* When I left, one of them walked a quarter of a mile 
to make sure that I Avent upon the right road. The charge for 
entertainment, though it was unusually good, was a quarter of a 
dollar less than I have paid before, which I mention, not as Mr. 
De Bow would suppose,'^ out of gratitude for the moderation, 
but as an indication of the habits of the people, showing, as it 
may, either closer calculation, or that the district grows its own 

* See De Bow's Review, for August, 1857, p. 117. 



208 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

supplies, and can furnisli food cheaper than those in which atten- 
tion is more exclusively given to cotton. 

June — . The country continues hilly, and is well popu- 
lated by farmers, living in log huts, while every mile or two, 
on the more level and fertile land, there is a larger farm, 
with ten or twenty negroes at work. A few whites are usually 
working near them, in the same field, generally plowing while 
the negroes hoe. 

WARM WORK FOR WOMAN-KIND. 

About noon, my attention was attracted towards a person upon 
a ledge, a little above the road, who was throwing up earth and 
stone with a shovel. I stopped to see what the purpose of 
this work might be, and perceived that the shoveler was a 
woman, who, presently discovering me, stopped and called to 
others behind her, and immediately a stout girl and two younger 
children, with a man, came to the edge and looked at me. 
The woman was bare-headed, and otherwise half-naked, as 
perhaps needed to bo, for her work would have been thought 
hard by our stoutest laborers, and it was the hottest weather 
of the summer, in the latitude of Charleston, and on a hill- 
side in the full face of the noon sun. I pushed my horse up 
the hill until I reached them, when another man appeared, and in 
answer to my inquiries told me that they were getting out iron 
ore. One was picking in a vein, having excavated a short adit ; 
the other man picked looser ore exterior to the vein. The 
women and children shoveled out the ore and piled it on kilns of 
timber, where they roasted it to make it crumble. It was then 
caFted to a forge, and they were paid for it by the load. They 
were all clothed very meanly and scantily. The woman worked, 



THE PIEDMONT COTTON DISTRICT. 209 

SO far as I could see, as liard as the men. The children, too, even 
to the youngest — a boy of eight or ten — were carrying large 
lumps of ore, and heaving them into the kiln, and shoveling the 
finer into a screen to separate the earth from it. 

Immediately after leaving them I found a good spot for noon- 
ing. I roped my horse out to graze, and spread my blanket in a 
deep shade. I noticed that the noise of their work had ceased, 
and about fifteen minutes afterwards, Jude suddenly barking, I 
saw one of the men peering at me through the trees, several rods 
distant. I called to him to come up. He approached rather 
slowly and timidly, examined the rope with which my horse was 
fastened, eyed me vigilantly, and at length asked if I was resting 
myself. I replied that I was ; and he said that he did not know 
but I might be sick, and had come to see me. I thanked him, 
and offered him a seat on my blanket, whicli he declined. Pres- 
ently he took up a newspaper that I had been reading, looked at 
it a moment, then told me he could n't read. " Folks do n't care 
much for edication round here; it would be better for 'em, I 
expect, if they did." He then began to question me closely 
about my circumstances — where I came from, whither I was go- 
ing, etc. 

When his curiosity was partially appeased he suddenly laughed 
in a silly manner, and said that the people he had been working 
with had watched me after I left them ; they saw me ride up the 
hill and stop, ride on again, and finally take off my saddle, turn 
my horse loose and tote my saddle aAvay, and they were much 
frightened, thinking I must be crazy at least. When he started 
to come toward me they told him he would n't dare to go to me, 
but he saw how it was, well enough — I was just resting myself. 

*• If I should run down hill now," said he, " they 'd start right 



210 A JOUKNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

off and would n't stop for ten mile, reckoning you was arter me. 
That would be fun ; oh, we have some good fun here sometimes 
with these green folks. There 's an amazin' ignorant set round 
here." 

I asked if they were foreigners. 

" Oh, no ; they are common, no account people ; they used to 
live over the hill, here ; they come right nigh starvin' thar, I ex- 
pect." 

They had not been able to get any work to do, and had been 
" powerful poor," until he got them to come here. They had 
taken an old cabin, worked with him, and were doing right well 
now. He did n't let them work in the vein — he kept that for him- 
self^ — but they w^orked all around, and some days they made a 
dollar and a half — the man, woman and children together. They 
had one other girl, but she had to stay at home to take care of 
the baby and keep cattle and hogs out of their " gardien." He 
had known the woman when she was a girl ; " she was always a 
good one to work. She 'd got a voice like a bull, and she was as 
smart as a wildcat ; but the man warn't no account." 

He had himself followed this business (mining) since he was a 
young man, and could earn three dollars a day by it if he tried ; 
he had a large family and owned a small farm ; never laid up 
any thing, always kept himself a little in debt at the store. 

He asked if I had not found the people " more friendly like" 
up in this country to what they were down below, and assured me 
that I would find them grow more friendly as I went further 
north, so at least he had heard, and he knew where he first came 
from (Tennessee) the people were more friendly than they were 
here. "The richer a man is," he continued, pursuing a natural 
association of ideas, " and the more niggers he 's got, the poorer 



THE PIEDMONT COTTON DISTRICT. 211 

he seems to live. If you want to fare well in tliis country you 
stop to poor folks' liousen ; they try to enjoy what they've got, 
while they ken, but these yer big planters they do n't care for 
nothin' but to save. Now, I never calculate to save any thing ; I 
tell my wife I work hard and I mean to enjoy what I earn as 
fast as it comes." 

Sometimes he " took up bee-huntin' for a spell," and made 
money by collecting wild honey. lie described his manner of 
finding the hives and securing the honey, and, with a hushed 
voice, told me a "secret," which was, that if you carried three 
leaves, each of a different tree (?) in your hand, there was never 
a bee would dare to sting you. 

I asked about his children. He had one grown-up son, who 
was doing very well ; he was hired by the gentleman who owned 
the forge, to cart ore. He had nothing to do but to drive a team ; 
he did n't have to load, and he had a nigger to take care of the 
horses when his day's teaming was done. 

ARTICLES OF FEMININE LUXURY. 

His wages were seven dollars a month, and board for himself 
and wife. They ate at the same table with the gentleman, and 
had good living, beside having something out of the store, " to- 
bacco and so on — tobacco for both on 'em, and two people uses 
a good deal of tobacco, you know ; so that 's pretty good wages 
— seven dollars a month, beside their keep and tobacco." Irish- 
men, he informed me, had been employed occasionally at the 
forge. " They do well at first, only they is apt to get into fights 
all the time ; but after they 've been here a year or two, they get 
to feel so independent and keerless-Hkc, you can't get along with 

'cm." He remained about half an hour, and not till he returned 

10 



212 A JOURNEY IN THE HACK COUNTRY. 

did I liear again the noise of picking and shoveling, and cutting 
timber. 

At the forges, I was told, slave labor is mainly employed — the 
slaves being owned by the proprietors of the forges. 

"please to remember," etc. 

I spent that niglit at a large inn in a village. In the morning 
as I sat waiting in my room, a boy opened the door. Without 
looking up I asked, "AA^ell?" 

" I didn't say nuthin', sar." with a great grin. 

" What are you v^-aiting there for ?" " Please, massa, I b'leve 
you's owin' me suthin', sar." "Owing you something? What 
do you mean ?" "For drying yer clothes for yer, sar, last night." 
I had ordered him immediately after tea to go up stairs and get 
my clothes, which had been drenched in a shower, and hang 
them by the kitchen lire, that they might be dry if I should 
wish to leave early in the morning. When I went to my bed- 
room at nine o'clock I found the clothes where I had left them. 
I went down and reported it to the landlord, who directly sent 
the boy for them. In the mornings when I got them again I 
found they were not dry except where they were burned. I told 
him to be gone ; but with the door half open, he stood putting 
in his head, bowing and grinning. "Please, sar, massa sent me 
out of an errand, and I was afeard you would be gone before I 
got back ; dat 's the reason why I mention it, sar ; dat's all, sar ; 
I hope you '11 skuse me, sar." 

a sporting farmer and nigger-hunting. 
During the afternoon I rode on through a valley, narrow and 
apparently fertile, but the crops indifferent. The general social 
characteristics were the same that I met with yesterday. 



THE PIEDMONT COTTON DISTRICT. 213 

At night I stopped at a large house having an unusual number 
of negro cabins and stables about it. The proprietor, a hearty 
old farmer, boasted much of his pack of hounds, saying they had 
pulled down five deer before he had had a shot at them. He 
was much interested to hear about Texas, the Indians and the 
game. He reckoned there was " a heap of big varmint out 
thar." 

His crop of cotton did not average two bales to the hand, and 
corn not twenty bushels to the acre. 

He amused me much with a humorous account of an oyster 
supper to which he had been invited in town, and his attempts 
to eat the " nasty things" without appearing disconcerted before 
the ladies. 

An old negro took my horse when I arrived, and half an hour 
afterward, came to me and asked if I wanted to see him fed. 
As we walked toward the stables, he told me that he always took 
care not to forget gentlemen's bosses, and to treat them well ; 
" then^" he said, bowing and with emphasis, " they looks out and 
do nH forget to treat me well." 

The same negro was called to serve me as a candlestick at 
bedtime. He held the candle till I got into bed. As he retired 
I closed my eyes, but directly afterward, perceiving the light re- 
turn, I opened them. Uncle x\bram was bending over me, hold- 
ing the candle, grinning with his toothless gums, winking and 
shaking his head in a most mysterious manner. 

"Hush! massa," he whispered. "You hain't got something 
tx) drink, in dem saddle-bags has you, sar ?" 

My host wanted much to buy or borrow Jude of me ; offering 
to return her to me in New York, with the best pup, and with- 
out expense to me^ if I would let him get a litter from her. 



214 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

I Lave been asked for my dog at every house in which I have 
stopped on the road, and, on an average, twice a day beside, 
since I left Natchez. Gentlemen inquire respectfully : " Would 
not you like to give away that dog, sir ?" Negroes : " Do n't you 
want to gib me dat dog, sar ?" Boys : " Please, sir, gin me that 
dog, sir ?" and children, black and white, demand it peremptorily : 
" Gim me dat dog." 

The farmer told me something about " nigger dogs ;" they 
didn't use foxhounds, but bloodhounds — not pure, he thought, 
but a cross of the Spanish bloodhound with the common hounds 
or curs. There were many men, he said, in the country below 
here, who made a business of nigger-hunting, and they had their 
horses trained, as well as the dogs, to go over any common fence 
or if they could n't leap it, to break it down. Dogs were trained, 
wdien pups, to follow a nigger — not allowed to catch one, how- 
ever, unless they were quite young, so that they could n't hurt 
him much, and they were always taught to hate a negro, never 
being permitted to see one except to be put in chase of him. 
He believed that only two of a pack were kept kenneled all the 
time — these were old, keen ones, who led the rest when they 
were out ; they were always kept coupled together with a chain, 
except when trailing. He had seen a pack of thirteen who 
would follow a trail two days and a half old, if rain had not fall- 
en in the mean time. When it rained immediately after a negro 
got off, they had to scour the country where they supposed he 
might be, till they scented him. 

When hard pushed, a negro always took to a tree ; sometimes 
however, they would catch him in an open field. When this 
was the case the hunter called off the dogs as soon as he could, 
unless the negro fought — " that generally makes 'em mad (the 



THE PIEDMONT COTTON DISTRICT. 215 

hunters), and tLey '11 let 'cm tear him a spell. The owners 
do n't mind having them kind o' niggers tore a good deal ; run- 
aways ain't much account no how, and it makes the rest more 
afraid to run away, when they see how they are sarved." If 
they caught the runaway within two or three days, they got from 
$10 to '$20 ; if it took a longer time, they were paid more than 
that ; sometimes $200. They asked their own price ; if an ow^ner 
should think it exorbitant, he supposed, he said in reply to an in- 
quiry, they 'd turn the nigger loose, order him to make off, and 
tell his master to catch his own nio-o-ers. 

HILL-FOLKS OX SUNDAY. 

June — , Sunday. — I rode on, during the cool of the morning, 
about eight miles, and stopped for the day, at a house pleasantly 
situated by a small stream, among wooded hills. During the 
forenoon, seven men and three women, with their children, gath- 
ered at the house. All of them, I concluded, were non-slave- 
holders, as was our host himself; though, as one told me, "with 

his five boys he makes a heap more crop than Mrs. , who 's 

got forty niggers." "How is that?" " Well, she 's a woman, 
and she can 't make the niggers work ; she won't have an over- 
seer, and niggers w^on't work, you know, unless there 's some- 
body to drive 'em." 

Our host, when I arrived, had just been pulling weeds out of 
his potato patch, which he mentioned as an apology for not 
being a little clean, like the rest. 

Beside the company I have mentioned, and the large family of 
the house, there was another traveler and myself to dinner, and 
three bountiful tables were spread, one after another. 

The traveler was said to be a Methodist preacher, but gave no 



216 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

indication of it, except that lie said grace before meat, and used 
the Hebrew word for Sunday. He was, however, a man of supe- 
rior intelligence to the others, who were ignorant and stupid, 
though friendly and communicative. One asked me "what a 
good nigger man could be bought for in New York ;" he did n't 
seem surprised, or make any farther inquiry, when I told him we 
had no slaves there. Some asked me much about crops, and when 
I told them that my crops of wheat for six years had averaged 
twenty-eight bushels, and that I had once reaped forty from a 
single acre, they were amazed beyond expression, and anxious to 
know how I "put it in." I described the process minutely, 
which astonished them still more ; and one man said he had 
often thought they might get more wheat if they put it in differ- 
ently ; he had thought that perhaps more wheat would grow if 
more seed were sown, but he never tried it. The general prac- 
tice, they told me, was to sow wheat on ground from which they 
had taken maize, without removing the maize stumps, or plowing 
it at all ; they sowed three pecks of wheat to the acre, and then 
plowed it in — that was all. They used the cradle, but had never 
heard of reaping machines ; the crop was from five to ten bushels 
an acre ; ten bushels was extraordinary, six was not thought bad. 
Of cotton, the ordinary crop was five hundred pounds to the 
acre, or from one to two bales to a hand. Of maize, usually 
from ten to twenty bushels to the acre ; last year not over 
ten ; this year they thought it would be twenty-five on the best 
land. 

HUNTING TALES. 

The general admiration of Jude brought up the topic of negro 
dogs again, and the clergyman told a story of a man who hunted 



THE riEDMO:^iT COTTOX DISTRICT. 217 

niggers near where lie lived. lie was out once witli another 
man, when, after a long search, they found the dogs barking up 
a big Cottonwood tree. They examined the tree closely witliout 
finding any negro, and concluded that the dogs must have been 

foiled, and tliey were about to go away, when Mr. • , from 

some distance oft", thought he saw a negro's leg very high up in 
the tree, where the leaves and moss were thick enough to hide a 
man lying on the top of a limb with his feet against the trunk. 
He called out, as if he really saw a man, telling him to come 
down, but nothing stirred. He sent for an ax, and called out 
again, saying he would cut the tree to the ground if he did n't 
come down. There was no reply. He then cut half through 
the tree on one side, and was beginning on the other, when the 
negro halloed out that if he would stop he would come down. 
He stopped cutting, and the negro descended to the lowest limb, 
which w^as still far from the ground, and asked the hunter to take 
away his dogs, and promise they should n't tear him. But the 
hunter swore he 'd make no conditions with him after having 
been made to cut the tree almost down. 

The negro said no more, but retained his position until the 
tree was nearly cut in two. When it began to totter, he slid 
down the trunk, the dogs springing upon him as soon as he was 
within their reach. He fought them hard, and got hold of one 
by the ear; that made them fiercer, and they tore him till the 
hunter was afraid they 'd kill him, and stopped them. 

I asked if dogs were often allowed to tear the negroes when 
they caught them ? 

"When the hunters come up they always call them off, unless 
the nigger fights. If the nigger fights 'em that makes 'em mad, 
and they let 'em tear him good," said the clergyman. 



218 A JOURNEY IN THE EACK COUNTRY. 

There were two or three young womcTi present, and the young ' 
men were sparking witli them in the house, sitting on the beds 
for want of sofas, the chairs being all in use outside ; the rest of 
the company sat on the gallery most of the time, but there was 
little conversation. It was twice remarked to me, " Sunday 's a 
dull day — nothing to do." 

As the Methodist and I were reading after dinner, I noticed 
that two or three were persuading the others to go with them 
somewhere, and I asked where they proposed to go. They said 
they wanted to go over the mountain to hunt a bull. 

" To shoot him ?" 

" Oh, no, it 's a working bull ; they got his mate yesterday. 
There ain't but one pair of cattle in this neighborhood, and they 
do all the hauling for nine families." They belonged, together 
with their wagon, to one man, and the rest borrowed of him. 
They wanted them this week to cart in their oats. The stray 
bull was driven in toward night, yoked with another to a wagon, 
and one of the women, with her family, got into the wagon 
and was carried home. The bulls were fractious and had 
to be led by one man, while another urged them forward with a 
cudgel. 

Last night a neighbor came into the house of Uncle Abram's 
master, and in the course of conversation about crops, said that 
on Sunday he went over to John Brown's to get him to come 
out and help him at his harvesting. He found four others there 
for the same purpose, but John said he did n't feel well, and he 
reckoned he could n't work. He offered him a dollar and a lialf 
a day to cradle for him, but when he tried to persuade him, John 
spoke out plainly and said, "he'd be d — d if he was going to 
work anvhow ;" so he said to the others, " Come, boys, we may 



THE PIEDMONT COTTON DISTRICT. 219 

as well go; you can't make a lazy man work when he's de- 
termined he won't." He supposed that remark made him mad, 
for on Thursday John came running across his cotton patch, 
where he was plowing. He did n't speak a word to him, but cut 
alono; over to his neio'hbor's house, and told him that he had shot 
two deer, and wanted his hounds to catch 'em, promising to give 
him half the venison if he succeeded. He did catch one of 
them, and kept his promise. 

This man Brown, they told me, had a large family and lived 
in a little cabin on the mountain. He pretended to plant a corn 
patch, but he never worked it, and did n't make any corn. They 
reckoned he lived pretty much on what corn and hogs he could 
steal, and on game. The children were described as pitiably, 
"scrawny," half-starved little wretches. Last summer his wife 
had come to one of them, saying they had no corn, and she 
wanted to pick cotton to earn some. He had let her go in with 
the niggers and pick. She kept at it for two days, and took her 
pay in corn. Afterward he saw her little boy " toting" it to the 
mill to be ground — much too heavy a load for him. 

I asked if there were many such vagabonds. 

"Yes, a great many on the mountain, and they make a heap 
of trouble. There is a law by which they might be taken up [if 
it could be proved that they have no ' visible means of support '] 
and made to work to support their families ; but the law is never 
used." 

Speaking of another man, one said : " He '11 be here to break- 
fast, at your house to dinner, and at Dr. 's to supper, leaving 

Lis family to live as they best can." They " reckoned" lie got 
most of his living in that way, while his family had to get theirs 

by stealing. He never did any work except hunting, and they 

]0* 



220 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

"reckoned" he killed about as many shoats and yearlings as deer 
and turkeys. 

They said that this sort of people were not often intemperate ; 
they had no money to buy liquor with ; now and then, when 
they 'd sold some game or done a little work to raise money, 
they 'd have a spree ; but they were more apt to gamble it off or 
spend it for fine clothes and things to trick out their wives. 

June — . To-day, I am passing through a valley of thin, sandy 
soil, thickly populated by poor farmers. Negroes are rare, but 
occasionally neat, new houses, with other improvements, show 
the increasing prosperity of the district. The majority of the 
dwellings are small log cabins of one room, with another separ- 
ate cabin for a kitchen ; each house has a well," and a garden 
inclosed with palings. Cows, goats, mules and swine, fowls and 
doves are abundant. The people are more social than those of 
the lower country, falling readily into friendly conversation with 
a traveler. They are very ignorant ; the agriculture is wretched 
and the work hard. I have seen three white women hoeing field 
crops to-day. A spinning-wheel is heard in every house, and 
frequently a loom is clanging in the gallery, always worked by 
women ; every one wears homespun. The negroes have much 
more individual freedom than in the planting country, and are 
not unfrequentiy heard singing or whistling ^t their work. 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE HIGHLANDERS. 

The northernmost cotton-fields, wliich I observed, were near 
the Tennessee line. This marks a climactic division of the 
country, which, however, is determined b}^ change of elevation 
rather than of latitude. For a week or moi-e afterwards, my 
course was easterly, through parts of Tennessee and Georgia into 
JsTortli Carolina, then northward, and by various courses back 
into Tennessee, when, having finally crossed the Apalachians for 
the fourth time, I came again to the tobacco plantations of the 
Atlantic slope in Virginia. 

AGRICULTURAL NOTES IN THE HIGHLANDS. 

The climate of this mountain region appears not to differ very 
greatly from that of Long Island, southern New Jersey and 
Pennsylvania. It is perhaps more variable, but the extremes 
both of heat and cold are less than are reached in those more 
northern and less elevated regions. The usual crops are the same, 
those of most consequence being corn, rye, oats, and grass. 
Fruit is a more precarious crop, from a greater liability to severe 
frosts after the swelling of buds in the spring. The apple-crop 
has been thus totally destroyed in the year of my journey, so 
that in considerable orchards I did not see a single a])ple. Snow 
had fallen several inches in depth in April, and a severe freezing 



222 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

night following, even young shoots, which had begun to grow, 
forest trees, und leaves which had expanded, were withered. 

The summer pasture continues about six months. The hills 
generally afford an excellent range, and the mast is usually good, 
much being provided by the chestnut, as well as the oat, and 
smaller nut-bearing trees. The soil of the hills is a rich dark 
vegetable deposit, and they are cultivated upon very steep slopes. 
It is said to wash and gully but little, being very absorptive. The 
valleys, and gaps across the mountain ranges, are closely settled, 
and all the feasible level ground that I saw in three weeks was 
fenced, and either under tillage or producing grass for hay. The 
agricultural management is nearly as bad as possible. Corn, plant- 
ed without any manure, even by farmers who have large stocks of 
cattle, is cultivated for a long series of years on the same ground ; 
the usual crop being from twenty to thirty bushels to the acre. 
Where it fails very materially, it is thought to be a good plan to 
shift to rye. Rye is sown in July, broadcast, among the growing 
corn, and incidentally covered with a plow and hoes at the "lay 
by" cultivation of the corn. It is reaped early in July the follow- 
ing year with cradles, an acre yielding from five to fifteen bush- 
els. The following crop of corn is said to be much the better 
for the interpolation. Oats, and in the eastern parts, buckwheat, 
are sowed in fallow land, and the crops appeared to be excellent, 
but I could learn of never a measurement. Herds-grass {agrostis 
vulgaris)^ is sown on the valley lands, (rarely on the steep slopes 
of the mountains,) with oats, and the crop, without any further 
labor, pays for mowing and making into hay for from four to 
eight years afterward. Where it becomes mossy, weedy, and 
thin, it is often improved by harrowing or scarifying with a 
small " bull-tongue," or coulter-plow, and meadows thus made 



THE HIGHLA.NDERS. 223 

and occasionally assisted, are considered "permanent." The hay 
from them soon becomes in large part, however, coarse, weedy 
and bnshy. 

Natural meadows are formed on level land in the valleys, 
which is too wet for cultivation, by felling the timber and cutting 
up the bushes as close to the ground as practicable, in August. 
The grass is cut the following year in June, and again in August 
or September, at which time the new growth of bushes yield to 
the scythe. The sprouts cease to spring after the second or third 
year. Clover is a rare crop, but appears well, and is in some lo- 
calities a spontaneous production. Hay is stored but little in 
barns, the larger part being stacked in fields. The hay fields 
are pastured closely, and with evident bad cft'ect, in the spring 
and autumn. 

Horses, mules, cattle, and swine,, are raised extensively, and 
sheep and goats in small numbers, throughout the mountains, and 
aftord almost the only articles of agricultural export. Although 
the mountains are covered during three months of the winter 
with snow several inches in depth, and sometimes (though but 
rarely) to the depth of a foot or more, and the nights, at least, are 
nearly always freezing, I never saw any sort of shelter prepared 
for neat stock. In the severest weather they are only fed oc- 
casionally, hay or corn being served out upon the ground, but 
this is not done daily, or as a regular thing, even by the better 
class of farmers. One of these, who informed me that his neigh- 
bor had four hundred head that were never fed at all, and never 
came ofl:* the mountain, in consequence of which " heaps of 
them" were starved and frozen to death every year, said that he 
himself gave his stock a feed " every few days," sometimes not 
oftener than " once in a week or two." The cattle arc of course 



224 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

smal], coarse, and "raw-boned." They are usually sold to drovers 
from Tennessee when three years old, and are driven by them to 
better lowland pastures, and more provident farmers, by whom 
they are fattened for the New York market. During the past 
five or six years, in consequence of the increasing competition, 
the drovers h'ave purchased also the two year olds. 

No dairy products are sold. I saw no cheese ; but butter of 
better quality than I found elsewhere at the South, is made by 
all farmers for their own tables. Mules are raised largcl}^ The 
mares with foals are usually provided with a pen and shed, and 
fed with corn, cut oats, (the grain and straw chopped together), 
and hay, daily during winter. This is done by no means univer- 
sally, however. In no single case did I find stabling and really 
comfortable shelter prepared for a stock of mules ; as a conse- 
quence, the mules are inferior in size and constitution to those of 
Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri, and command less prices 
when driven to the plantations of South Carolina and Georgia — 
the market for which they are raised. 

The business of raising hogs for the same market, which has 
formerly been a chief source of revenue to the mountain region, 
has greatly decreased under the competition it has latterly met 
with from Tennessee and Kentucky. It is now a matter of infe- 
rior concern except in certain places where the chestnut mast is 
remarkably fine. The swine at large in the mountains, look 
much better than I saw them anywhere else at the South. It 
is said that they will fatten on the mast alone, and the pork thus 
made is of superior taste to that made Avith corn, but lacks firm- 
ness. It is the custom to pen the swine and feed them with corn 
for from three to six weeks before it is intended to kill them. In 
some parts of the mountains the young swine are killed a great 



THE HIGHLANDERS. 225 

deal by bears. Twenty neighbors, residing within a distance of 
three miles, being met at a corn-shucking, last winter, at a house 
in which I spent the night in North Carolina, account had been 
taken of the number of swine each supposed himself to have lost 
by this enemy, during the previous two months, and it amounted 
to three hundred. 

Bears, wolves, panthers, and wild-cats are numerous, and all 
kill young stock of every description. Domestic dogs should 
also be mentioned among the beasts of prey, as it is the general 
opinion of the farmers that more sheep are killed by dogs than 
by all other animals. Sheep raising and wool growing should be, 
I think, the chief business of the mountains. If provided with 
food in deep snows, a hardy race of sheep could be wintered on 
the mountains with comfort. At present no sheep are kept with 
profit. I have no doubt they miight be, were shepherds and dogs 
kept with them constantly, and were they always folded at night. 
Eagles are numerous, and prey upon very young lambs and pigs. 

Many of the farmers keep small stocks of goats, for the man- 
ageable quantity of excellent fresh meat the kids afford them, 
when killed in summer. Their milk is seldom made use of. 
They require some feeding in winter, and the new-born kids, 
no adequate shelter ever being provided for them, are often frozen 
to death. Goats, in all parts of the South, are more generally 
kept by farmers than at the North. 

The agricultural implements employed are rude and inconve- 
nient. A low sled is used in drawing home the crops of small 
grain. As it is evident that large loads may be moved with a 
sled across dechvities Avhere it would be impracticable to use a 
cart or wagon, hill-side farmers, elsewhere, might frequently find 
it advantageous to adopt the plan. 



226 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

Slaves, I was often told, were " unprofitable property" in the 
mountains, except as they increase and improve in salable value. 
Two men, on different occasions, in mentioning the sources of 
revenue of the farmers in their respective districts, spoke of the 
sale of negroes in the same sentence with that of cattle and 
swine. " A nigger," said one of them, " that would n't bring 
over |300, seven years ago, will fetch $1000, cash, quick, this 
year ; but now, hogs, they ain't worth so much as they used to 
be ; there 's so many of 'em driven through here from Tennessee, 
they've brought the price down." 

Of the people who get their living entirely by agriculture, few 
own negroes ; the slaveholders being chiefly professional men, 
shop-keepers, and men in office, who are also land owners, and 
give nr divided attention to farming. 

The disadvantages attendant upon slave-labor are more obvious 
where slaves are employed in small numbers together, because 
the proportion of the labor of the agricultural establishment 
which requires discretion and trustiness on the part of the laborer 
or vigilant superintendence, and " driving," at many different 
points at the same moment, on that of the overseer, is much 
smaller on a farm than on a plantation. A man can compel 
the uninterrupted labor of a gang of fifty cotton-hoers almost 
as absolutely as he can that of a gang of five, and it takes scarcely 
more superintendence to make sure of the proper feeding of 
thirty mules, when they are collected in their stable, than of 
three. For this reason, the bad economy of slavery is more 
obvious to the unthinking people, where it exists in the mild 
and segregated form in which it is found, when found at all, 
in these highland districts, than in the large properties of the 
cotton and sugar districts. The direct moral evils of slavery, 



THE HIGHLANDERS. 227 

however, are less — even less proportionately to the number of 
slaves, because the slaves being of necessity less closely superin- 
tended, and their labor being directed to a greater variety of 
employments, their habits more resemble those of ordinary free 
laborers, they exercise more responsibility, and both in soul and 
intellect they are more elevated ; and this may be said generally 
of the slaves of the northern or farming, as compared with those 
of the southern or planting slave States. 

The condition of a slave, however, must always carry with it 
the strongest temptations to falsehood and eye-service, and slav- 
ery, in its mildest character, must be prejudicial to the morals 
and to the prosperity of the country in which it exists. How 
this appears in the highland region I can easily show. 

In a valley of unusual breadth and fertility, where the farmers 
were wealthier and the slaves more numerous than usual, I came, 
one afternoon, upon a herd of uncommonly fine cattle, as they 
were being turned out of a field by a negro woman. She had 
given herself the trouble to let down but two of the seven bars 
of the fence, and they were obliged to leap over a barrier at 
least four feet high. Last of all came, very unwillingly, a hand- 
some heifer, heavy with calf; the woman urged her with a cud- 
gel and she jumped, but lodging on her belly, as I came up she 
lay bent, and, as it seemed, helplessly hung upon the top bar. I 
was about to dismount to help her, when the woman struck her 
severely, and with a painful effort she boggled over. I spent the 
night at the best farm, and with the best educated man I met in 
all the mountain region — this, indeed, was rather below the 
mountain district proper, in a valley of the eastern Piedmont 
region. He spoke with some pride of the improvement in the 
quality of the stock and agriculture of the neighborhood, and 



228 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

asked if I had not seen some fine cattle during the afternoon. I 
replied that I had, and at the same time mentioned the incident 
I have just related. "Ha! yes," said he, "that's just a piece 
of nigger- work. She ought to have had fifty given her right off. 
But a nigger always will be lazy and careless." " But," said his 
son, a young man of eighteen, " niggers can be made to do 
right." " No, they can not," returned the father, " they can 
never be trusted to do rio-ht. I never had a nio-o-er that would 
even plow to suit me unless while I was standing right over him. 
And who wants to spend all his life in scolding ?" Then to me, 
" If I could get such hired men as you can in New York, I 'd 
never have another nigger on my place ; but the white men here 
who will labor, are not a bit better than negroes. You have got 
to stand right over them all the time, just the same ; and then, 
if I should ask, now, one of my white men to go and take care 
of your horse, he 'd be very apt to tell me to do it myself, or, if 
he obeyed, he would take pains to do so in some way that would 
make me sorry I asked him ; then if I should scold him, he 
would ask me if I thouo-lit he was a nio-o-er, and refuse to work 
for me any more." 

AVherever there are slaves, I have found that farmers univer- 
sally testify that white laborers adopt their careless habits, and 
that they are even more indiflerent than negroes to the interests 
of their employers. Southerners, sometimes, deny that "slavery 
degrades labor," or prevents industry among the free, and I have 
been shown individual instances of hard-working white men to 
prove this. Perhaps it would be more strictly correct to say that 
slavery breeds unfaithful, meretricious, inexact and non-persistent 
habits of working. This influence of slavery extends to the 
mountains, although the people are much more industrious than 



THE HIGHLANDERS. 229 

those of the low lands. It continued to be my custom to 
bivouac in the woods during the hottest part of the day. One 
fine morning, in July, I stopped about ten o'clock, at a fork in 
the road, to inquire my way of a couple of young men who were 
binding grain in an adjoining field. They both left their work 
and came to the fence before answering me, but as soon as I 
could with civility interrupt the conversation they desired, I rode 
on. Just beyond the fork, a brook, having a grassy bank, and a 
hill crowned by a forest upon one side, crossed the road. The 
view down the valley was fine, and thinking I was unlikely to 
find a pleasanter spot later, I rode into the woods until I 
reached a shaded opening, took oft' my saddle, and soon brought 
my horse back to the brook crossing to graze. I then returned 
down the brook till I found a deep, clear pool, where I bathed ; 
then coming back toward my horse I saw that the men had fol- 
lowed me all this time. . I went on to my saddle, and presently 
saw them approach and lie down near the horse. I walked to- 
wards them, but before I came within speaking distance, they 
rose and returned to their work. Half an hour later, I was 
awakened by Jude, and found they had again left the field, and 
were coming toward me. I restrained the dog and they ap- 
proached ; one whittling a stick, but aimlessly, and to no pur- 
pose or shape, unlike a Yankee. Whittling away, he addressed 
me : 

" 'Low yer minin'." (Searching for ore-beds.) 

" No, sir." 

"'Low yer travelin'." 

"Yes." 

" 'Lowed yer was." 

" 'Low that boss was raised in the mountings," said the other. 



230 A JOURXET IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

" 'No ; lie was raised in Texas." 
" What sort of a dog you call that ?" 
" A bull terrier." 

"'Lowed 't was a sort of a bully dog," and so on. They were 
very ignorant. Reckoned if I was going to New York, I would 
not come back here — peoj^le that went that way hardly ever did. 
I asked if many went from here to New York. " There was a 
heap gone to the Texies," they said ; " but they allowed New 
York was beyond the Texies." (Texas.) 

They remained standing fully an hour near me. At length I 
went to the horse to give him a little corn ; they followed me 
down, and I left them watching him eat it. Before they again 
returned to their work, they had lost not less than three hours 
of the finest harvesting morning of the season ; and this is a fair 
illustration of the way in which the poor white farmers of the 
slave States are generally found to attend to their business. 

Extreme poverty is rare in the mountains, but a smaller pro- 
portion of the people live in a style corresponding to that cus- 
tomary among what are called in New England "fore-handed 
folks," than in any other part of the civilized world which I 
have visited. The number who can be classed as moderately 
well-informed, using the New England rural standard, is ex- 
tremely small. I did not meet in a whole month more than two 
or three natives who seemed to have enjoyed equal advantages 
of education with the lowest class of New England (native) 
working people. Each of those above the average in this 
respect I shall speak of distinctly. 

The great majority live in small and comfortless log huts, two 
detached cabins usually forming the habitation of a family. 
These are rarely provided with glass windows, many are even 



THE HIGHLANDERS. 231 

^vithout a port; yet the winter is more severe than that ot 
England. The interior of one frame house, in whicli I spent a 
night, forty by thirty feet in dimensions, and two stories in 
height, occupied by a family of much more than the usual wealth, 
received light in the lower story only by the door and the occa 
sional interstices of the boarding, and in the upper, by two loop- 
holes, unfurnished with shutters. 

The table is usually abundantly provided, its only marked dif- 
ference from that of the lower country being the occasional pres- 
ence of unleavened rye bread, made with saleratus and fat, unlike 
any rye bread I have eaten elsewhere, but more palatable to me 
than the usual corn bread. Butter is always offered in the moun- 
tains, and is usually good. 

The women, as well as the men, generally smoke, and tobacco 
is grown for home use. They are more industrious than the 
men, often being seen at work in the fields, and at spuming 
wheels and hand-looms in almost every house. I was less 
troubled by vermin than in the low country, yet so much so that 
I adopted the habit of passing the night on the floor of the 
cabins, rather than in their beds. The fnrniture of the cabms is 
rather less meager than that of a similar class of habitations m 
the lower region. In the northern parts, it is common to see a 
square frame in which are piled a dozen bed quilts. Notwith- 
standing the ignorance of the people, books are more common 
than even in the houses of the slave owners of the planting dis- 
tricts. They seemed fond of reading aloud, those who were 
able-in a rather doleful and jolting manner. Their books are 
generally the cheapest and tawdriest of religious holiday books, 
as Mr. Sears' publications. Fox's "Martyrs," the "Biography of 
Distinguished Divines," with such others as " The Alarm to the 



232 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

Uuconvertecr' and "The Cause and Cure of Infidelity;" not 
such as Pilgriin's Progress, or Rohinson Crusoe, neither of which 
did I ever meet with. 

The generally open-hearted, frank^ and kiudly character of the 
people, the always agreeable scenery, usually picturesque, and in 
some parts grandly beautiful, and the salubrious atmosphere, cool 
at night, and though very hot, rarely at all enervating at mid-day, 
made this part of my journey extraordinarily pleasant. I would 
have been willing to continue it for months. My horse and dog, 
now almost every day bountifully fed on suitable food, were in 
good condition and spirits, and resting on Sundays, I could calcu- 
late to make twenty-six miles a day. The dog, notwithstanding 
the roads were much more stony and hotter than in the low 
country, was now^ never foot-sore, which I attribute to the fre- 
quency of mountain streams in which she could cool herself. Nor 
did my horse, though climbing and descending, mountains, get 
seriously saddle-galled. The only precaution I took against this 
danger, was to wash his back twice a day with cold water, and to 
be sure that the saddle-blanket was laid on smoothly, and was 
quite clean even from dust. My expenses were not over one dol- 
lar a day, the usual charge for a night being from fifty to seventy- 
five cents, or little more than half that charged me by Missis- 
sippi planters for much poorer entertainment. 

I resume the narrative of my journey, chiefly in the form of 
extracts from my diary, as before. 



June 29. At nightfall I entered a broader and more popu- 
lous valley than I had seen before during the day, but for 



THE HIGHLANDERS. 233 

sometime there were only small single-room log cabins, at wliicli 
I Avas loth to apply for lodging. At length I reached a large 
and substantial log house with negro cabins. The master sat in 
the stoop. I asked if he could accommodate me. 

" What do you want ?" 

"Something to eat for myself and horse, and room to sleep 
under your roof." 

" The wust on 't is," he said, getting up and coming toward 
me, " we have n't got much for your horse." 

" You 've got corn, I suppose." 

" No, haint got no corn but a little that we want for our- 
selves, only just enough to bread us till corn comes again." 

" Well, you have oats ?" 

" Haint got an oat." 

"Haven't you hay?" 

" No." 

" Then I must go further, for my horse can't travel on foa- 
der." 

" Haint got nary fodder nuther." 

A TENNESSEE SQUIRE. 

Fortunately I did not have to go much further before I came 
to the best house I had seen during the day, a largo, neat, 
white house, with negro shanties, and an open log cabin in the 
front yard. A stout, elderly, fine-looking woman, in a cool white 
muslin dress sat upon the gallery, fenning herself. Two little 
negroes had just brought a pail of fresh water, and she was 
drinking of it with a gourd, as I came to the gate. I asked if it 
would be convenient for her to accommodate me for the night, 



234 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

doubtingly, for I had learned to distrust the accommodations of 
the wealthy slaveholders. 

" Oh yes, get down, fasten your horse there, and the niggers 
will take care of him when they come from their work. Come 
up here and take a seat." 

I brought in my saddle-bags. 

"Bring them in here, into the parlor," she said, "where 
they '11 be safe." 

The interior of the house was furnished with unusual comfort. 
" The parlor," however, had a bed in it. As we came out she 
locked the door. 

We had not sat long, talking about the weather, (she was suf- 
fering much from the heat), when her husband came. He was 
very hot also, though dressed coolly enough in merely a pair of 
short-legged, unbleached cotton trowscrs, and a shirt with the 
bosom spread open — no shoes nor stockings. He took his seat 
before speaking to me, and after telling his wife it was the hot- 
test r\aj he ever saw, squared his chair toward me, threw it back 
so a<- to recline against a post, and said gruffly, " Good evening, 
sir ; you going to stay here to-night ?" 

I replied, and he looked at me a few moments without speak- 
ing. He was in fact so hot that he spoke with difficulty. At 
length he got breath and asked abruptly : " You a mechanic, sir, 
or a dentist, eh — or what ?" 

I presently asked what railroad it was that I had crossed about 
six miles east of Chatanooga. I had not expected to find any 
railroad in this direction. He answered pompously that it was 
" the Atlantic and Pacific railroad. It began at Charleston and 
ended at Chatanooga, but was to be carried across to a place 
called Francisco in California." 



THE HIGHLANDERS. 235 

Valuable information, but hardly as interesting as tbat wliicla 
the old lady gave me soon afterward. AVe had been talking of 
Texas and the emigration. She said " there was a new comitry 
they had got annexed to the United States now, and she reck- 
oned people would all be for going to that, now it was annexed. 
They called it Nebrasky ; she did n't know much about it, but she 
reckoned it must be a powerful fine country, they 'd taken so 
much trouble to get possession of it." 

Supper was cooked by two young women, daughters of the 
master of the house, assisted by the two little negro boys. The 
cabin in front of the house was the kitchen, and when the bacon 
was dished up, one of the boys struck an iron triangle at the 
door. " Come to supper," said the host, and led the way to the 
kitchen, which was also the supper room, One of the young 
ladies took the foot of the table, the other seated herself apart 
by the fire, and actually waited on the table, though the two 
negro boys stood at the head and foot, nominally waiters, but al- 
ways anticipated by the Cinderella, when any thing was wanted. 

A big lout of a youth who came from the field with the ne- 
groes, looked in, but seeing me, retired. His father called, but 
his mother said, " 't would n't do no good — he was so bashful." 

Speaking of the climate of the country, I was informed that a 

majority of the folks went barefoot all winter, though they had 

snow much of the time four or five inches deep, and the man 

said he did n't think most of the men about here had more than 

one coat, and they never wore any in winter except on holidays. 

"That was the healthiest way," he reckoned, "just to toughen 

yourself and not wear no coat ; no matter how cold it was, he 

did n't wear no coat." 

The master held a candle for me while I undressed, in a large 
11 



236 A JOUKNEY IN THE BACK COUNTKY. 

room above stairs ; and gave me my choice of the four beds in 
it. I found one straw bed (with, as usual, but one sheet), on 
which I slept comfortably. At midnight I was awakened by 
some one coming in. I rustled my straw, and a voice said, " Who 
is there in this room?" 

" A stranger passing tlie night ; who are you ?" 

" All right ; I belong here. I Ve been away and have just 
come home." 

He did not take his clothes off to sleep. He turned out to be 
an older son who had been fifty miles away, looking after a stray 
horse. When I went down stairs in the morning, having been 
wakened early by flies, and the dawn of day through an open 
window, I saw the master lying on his bed in the " parlor," 
still asleep in the clothes he wore at supper. His wife was wash- 
ing herself on the gallery, being already dressed for the day ; 
after drying her face on the family towel, she went into the 
kitchen, but soon returned, smoking a pipe, to her chair in the 
doorway. 

Yet every thing betokened an opulent and prosperous farmer — 
rich land, extensive field crops, a number of negroes, and consider- 
able herds of cattle and horses. He also had capital invested in 
mines and railroads, he told me. His elder son spoke of him as 
" the squire." 

A negro woman assisted in preparing breakfast (she had prob- 
ably been employed in the field labor the night before), and both 
the young ladies were at the table. The squire observed to me 
that he supposed we could buy hands very cheap in New York. 
I said we could hire them there at moderate wages. He asked if 
we could n't buy as many as we wanted, by sending to Ireland 
^or them and paying their passage. He had supposed we could 



THE IllGHLANDEllS. 237 

buy them and hold them as slaves for a term of years, by pay- 
ing the freight on them. When I had corrected him, he said, a 
little hesitatingly, "You don't have no black slaves in New- 
York ?" " No, sir." " There 's niggers there, ain't there, only 
they 're all free ?" " Yes, sir." " AVell, how do they get along 
so ?" " So far as I know, the most of them live pretty comfort- 
ably." (I have changed my standard of comfort lately, and 
am inclined to believe that the majority of the negroes at the 
North live more comfortably than the majority of whites at 
the South.) " I would n't like that," said the old lady. " I 
would n't like to live where niggers was free, they are bad enough 
when they are slaves: it's hard enough to get along with them 
here, they 're so bad. I reckon that niggers are the meanest 
critters on earth ; they are so mean and nasty" (she expressed 
disgust and indignation very strongly in her face). " If they 
was to think themselves equal to we, I do n't think white folks 
could abide it — they 're such vile saucy things." A negro woman 
and two boys w-ere in the room as she said this. 

At night I was again troubled to find a house at which my 
horse could be suitably fed, and was finally directed to a place at 
some distance off my direct road. To reach it, I followed a cart 
path up a pretty brook in a mountain glen, till I came to an 
irregular-shaped cattle yard, in the midst of which was a rather 
picturesque cabin, the roof being secured by logs laid across it 
and held in place by long upright pins. The interior consisted of 
one large " living-room," and a " lean-to," used as a kitchen, 
with a sleeping loft over half the living-room. For furniture, 
there were tw^o bedsteads, which occupied one-third of the room ; 
a large and a small table, on the latter of which lay a big Bible, 
and other books ; several hide-bottomed chairs, two chests, 



238 A JOUKNKY IN THE BACK COUNTKY. 

shelves, with crockery, and a framed lithographic portrait of 
Washington on the white horse. Women's dresses hung as a 
curtain along the foot of one bed ; hides, hams, and bunches of 
candles from the rafters. An old man and his wife, with one 
hired man, were the occupants ; they had come to this place 
from North Carolina two years before. They were very good, 
simple people ; social and talkative, but at frequent intervals the 
old man, often in the midst of conversation, interrupting a reply 
to a question put by himself, would groan aloud and sigh out, 
" Glory to God 1" " Oh, my blessed Lord !" " Lord, have mercy 
on us !" or something of the sort, and the old woman would 
respond with a groan, and then there would be silence for reflec- 
tion for a few moments, as if a dead man were in the house, and 
it had been forgotten for a time. They talked with great 
geniality and kindness, however, and learning that I was from 
New York, said that I had reminded them, " by the way I 
talked," of some New York people who had moved near to 
where they had lived in North Carolina, and whom they seemed 
to have much liked. " They w^as well larned people," the old 
man said ; " though they warn't rich, they was as well larned as 
any, but they was the most friendly people I ever see. Most of 
our country folks, when they is well larned, is too proud, they 
won't hardly speak civil to the common ; but these Yorkers 
was n't so, the least bit ; they was the civilest people I ever seed. 
When I seed the gals coming over to our houscn, I nat'rally 
rejoiced; they always made it so pleasant. I never see no peo- 
ple who could talk so well." 

He and his wife frequently referred to them afterwards, and 
complimented me by saying that " they should have known me 
for a Yorker by my speeching so like them." 



THJE HIGHLANDERS. 239 

I said, in answer to tlieir inquiry, that I had found the peo- 
ple of this part of the country remarkably friendly and sociable. 
The old man said he had " ahvays heard this was so, and it was 
nat'ral it should be. There warn't no niggers here ; where there 
was niggers, people could n't help getting a cross habit of speak- 
ing." He asked if New York were not a free State, and how I 
liked that. I answered, and he said he 'd always wished there 
had n't been any niggers here (the old woman called out from 
the other room, that she wished so, too), but he would n't like 
to have them free. As they had got them here, he did n't think 
there was any better way of getting along with them than that 
they had. There were very few in this district, but where they 
came from there were more niggers than whites. They had had 
three themselves ; when they decided to move up here into the 
mountains, the niggers did n't want to come with them, and they 
sold thera to a speculator. 

I asked if it was possible they would prefer to be sold to a 
trader, who might take them off and sell them to a cotton 
planter. 

" 0, yes, they had a great fear of the mountains ; they would 
rather, they said, be sent to a cotton farm, or a rice or sugar 
farm — any thing else ; so we sold them to the first nigger-specu- 
lator that come along." The old woman called out again, that 
she wished they had n't, for after all they was a great help to her, 
and it was very hard sometimes to do all the work she had to do, 
alone. "Those Yorkers did n't like slaves neither," she continued, 
coming into the room, "they said they couldn't bear to have 
'em do any thing for 'em, they was so shacklin and lazy, but one 
of the gals married a man who owned a heap of niggers, for all 
that." 



240 A JOrRNET IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

Their notions of geography were amusing. They thought 
Virginia Lay to the southward, and was a cotton-growing State, 
and they supposed that one reason their niggers were willing to 
be sold, was that their mother came from Virginia, and they had 
heard her talk of it, and that they thought they might be sold 
to go back there upon a cotton farm. New York, they thought, 
lay west of Georgia, and between them and Texas. They asked 
about Indiana, and said that I must have passed through it com- 
ing from Texas, confusing it, probably, with Louisiana ; and they 
asked if New York were not the country the Yankees came from — 
" the people that used to come peddling." They supposed also 
that New York had a much warmer climate than Georgia. The 
younger man informed me that " the United States had lately 
annexed a new coimtry that was called Nebrisky. It w-as large 
enough to make thirteen States, and they had had a great com- 
motion as to whether it should be free or slave States. The peo- 
ple here all wanted it to be slave States, because they might 
want to move out there, and a fellow might get a nigger and 
have to sell him. If a man moved into a free State, he 'd have 
to sell his niggers ; if he did n't, they 'd be free as soon as he 
took 'em in. He did n't think that was right ; a man ought to 
be able to take his property wherever he pleased." 

I replied that it would be a great deal better place for non- 
slaveholders to move to, if slaves were excluded, to which he 
made no reply. 

We had for supper, cold corn bread, cold bacon and hot coffee. 
The old woman remarked she had got so w^arm she could n't eat 
any thing, but she drank much coffee. I was a good deal 
fatigued ; about eight o'clock I intimated that I would like to go 
to bed. The old man lighted a candle, for until then, we had 



THE IIIGnLANDERS. 241 

been sitting by the fireliglit in tlie chimney, and after groaning 
aloud for the space of ten minutes, began to read in a very slow, 
monotonous manner, spelling out the hard words, from the Bible. 
After continuing this exercise for half an hour, he took a hymn 
Loot, read two lines and commenced to sing, and thus went on 
reading and singing, the other two joining him at the second 
verse, when we all rose. Thirteen verses v/ere sung, and then, 
after blowing out the candle, he kneeled for prayer. lie prayed 
with great fervor, much assisted by the ejaculatory responses of 
his wife, for more than half an hour. When we rose, the old 
woman took a single clean sheet from a chest, spread it on one 
of the beds, and told me that I could take that one. I began to 
undress, and she stepped out of doors till I was under the counter- 
pane. The young man climbed into tlie loft, and the two old 
people took the other bed. There was no window at all in the 
house ; they closed both doors and left a considerable fire burn- 
ing on the hearth. There did not, however, appear to be any 
want of ventilation, the logs and roof being sufficiently open. It 
was the first time, with only one exception, in more than a month, 
that I had been furnished with a clean sheet. (The luxury of 
two sheets I have never had in a private house since crossing the 
Mississippi ;) and I slept better than I have done before, for 
weeks. 

When I came to breakfast, the old woman was much disap- 
pointed that I declined coffee. She had thought I would like 
it sweet, and had taken pains to boil in some sweetenin' (mo- 
lasses) on my account ; she said she did not think I could have 
strength to travel such hot weather without it. I replied that I 
thought that I had found that in hot weather, after a little while, 
its effect was rather debilitating. " Perhaps it was so," she said, 



242 A JOTJENET IN THE BACK COUNTET. 

" and tliat was the reason she felt so weak and sleepy in the after- 
noon. They did n't have no coffee for dinner, and she had 
thought she onght to have it, because in the afternoon she was 
always so tired and sleepy she could hardly drag about till sup- 
per time, and at supper she always drank a lot of coffee just to 
keep from going to sleep till after prayers. She did n't feel as 
though she could live without coffee." 

She had taken much pains otherwise to get a good break- 
fast — thick griddle cakes of Indian meal, which I could really 

praise with a good conscience. This greatly elevated her, and 
J,. 
she told me in a confidential whisper, " there were none of her 

neighbors ever had any thing nice, not even for company, 

because they did n't any of 'em know how to cook beyond the 

common." 

Molasses they always used as if in the plural number (like 
oats), urging me to take " them molasses — but perhaps I 
"would n't like them with my bacon." 

My horse was well cared for, voluntarily, by the hired man ; 
cleaned and fed generously with corn, fodder, hay and sheaf oats. 
Charge for all, including two of the notable Indian slap-jacks, 
which I carried away in my haversack, sixty-two and a half cents. 
When I wanted to wash, I was directed to " the spring," the old 
woman having the w^ash basin in use. In fact, she was mixing 
the cakes in it. 

TENNESSEE COPPEE MINING. 

I have been visiting the mining region, which I approached 

through the pretty valley of the , where, for the first 

time in this journey, I met with hemlocks and laurels growing in 
great perfection. 



THE HIGHLANDERS. 243 

The first discovery of ore was made ten years ago, sooi after 
which, specimens were taken to New York, but no mining was 
done, and nothing was known of it here, until a New York com- 
pany bought a tract of kind three years ago, and immediately 
commenced operations. New veins were soon f^nd and new 
companies formed, and the excitement continues, new discoveries 
being made up to this time. At the public house were ten or 
twelve gentlemen of wealth, v/ho had come to sell or buy copper 
land, or to learn " the signs" that they might look for them on 
their own land elsewhere. 

The mines in operation at present are owned almost entirely in 
New York and London. The miners employed are mostly white 
North Carolinians, who are paid twenty to twenty-five dollars a 
month, when digging perpendicular shafts, and twenty-five to 
thirty dollars, when working horizontally. There are here, how- 
ever, several hundred Cornish men (" London miners," a native 
told me), and more are constantly coming. They are engaged in 
Cornwall, and have their expenses out paid, and forty dollars a 
month wages. They are said, at these wages, to be much more 
profitably employed than the natives. Two, whom I found at 
work together, one hundred and fifty feet from the surface, told 
me that they had been here about six weeks, and were well 
pleased. They each got forty dollars a month ; in England, they 
had earned respectively but three and four pounds. Board costs 
here at the boarding houses seven dollars a month, but they 
thought that a man living " in a cottage" by himself, could live 
cheaper than in England. Corn-bread (though Cornish men), 
they had not yet eaten, and they did not believe that they should 
ever come to it. They must have wheaten bread. The only thing 

they much missed was ale ; the people here did not know what 

11* 



2^^ A JOUENEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

it was, but drank whiskey. They would rather have one draught 
of Cornish swipes than a gallon of this whiskey. 

Some of the miners, including some of the Cornish men, had 
been getting ready a pole, which they were to erect, and hoist a 
flag upon, on the fourth of July. I heard a report the day be- 
fore I reached the mines, that the Englishmen at the mines 
were going to hoist the English flag and hurrah for the Queen on 
the fourth of July. The country people were much excited by 
this report, and on the third I met a great many of them, armed 
with rifles, coming in "to see about it." I could not persuade 
them that the Englishmen were intending in good faith to cele- 
brate the day, so strong was their belief in the continued hos- 
tility of the English people to American independence. 

There were few settlers here when the mines were discovered. 
At present, the population is reported to be many thousand. If 
so, it must be remarkably scattered, for there is nothing like a 
village; the only houses, with two or three exceptions, being 
small log cabins. I stopped at what is considered the best public 
house. When I asked for a bed, I was pointed to a room in 
which there were seven beds, and told that I could take my pick. 
Two gentlemen immediately called out to inform me which of the 
beds they had used the night before, hoping that I would respect 
their claim to hold them. All the beds had been slept in by 
others, without change of sheet. Being the first to withdraw 
from the bar room, I had my choice, and found one straw bed 
among them, which, of course, I appropriated. Fortunately, I 
had no bed-fellow ; the other beds were mostly doubly occu- 
pied. 

At a public house, a few nights before, I heard the landlord, 
while conducting two men to their sleeping room, observe, that 



THE HIGHLANDERS. 245 

Le supposed that they would like to sleep both in the same bed, 
as they came together, and I afterwards saw them together in a 
feather bed, notwithstanding there were several vacant beds in 
the same room. It was almost the hottest night I ever expe- 
rienced out of the East Indies, and I sweltered upon the floor. 

A SMART YANKEE. 

Everybody at the mines took me for either a shrewd specula- 
tor, or a mineralogist who had come to make examinations for a 
speculator. I was several times stopped and asked if I did not 
wish to look at a good piece of mineral land, and often requested 
to give my opinion of specimens, nor could I make myself be- 
lieved when I said I knew nothing about the matter. After I 
returned from visiting some of the mines, there was a room full of 
people at the public house. One asked me if I would tell them 
what I thought about those I had seen. I assured him that I 
was not in the least able to judge of their value, probably not 
half so much so as he was himself. He laughed, and another, 
laughing, asked, "What do you carry in that thing at your 
side ?" and every body smiled. 
" In this pouch, do you mean ?" 

" Yes, if it 's no offense— no offense meant, no offense taken, 
you know." 

" Certainly not ; I '11 tell you exactly what I 've got in it." I 
opened it and looking in, as it were, read the contents, " a pair 
of gloves, a knife, a corkscrew, a fleam, a tooth brush, a box of 
tapers, and a ball of twine." All laughed aloud, being quite sure 
in their minds that the pouch contained a blowpipe, tests, and 
specimens of ore, and that I was a very knowing fellow, who 
could keep his own counsel. 



. 246 A JOXJENEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

m 

July hih. — Last evening I rode several miles, constantly saying 
to myself, as I passed tlie miserable huts, " tbat, I can't put up 
with," and still going on to try further for something better, 
until, just as it was getting dark, I came to some larger cabins, 
one of which had creepers trained over a porch, for which sign 
of taste I selected it. It was occupied by a family, possessing a 
number of negro servants, and living in more comfort than I 
have seen for some time. My horse being brought out in the 
morning covered with mire, I asked the negro if he would not 
clean him. He picked up a piece of corn cob and began scrap- 
ing him. " Had n't he got a curry comb or card ?" I asked, but 
he did not know what I meant, and laughed when I explained it 
to him, as you would laugh at some little article of pure foppery. 

I passed through Murphy to-day, a pretty, shady town, sur- 
rounded by lovely scenery. I was a little surprised at the sight 
of a pillory and stocks, and to learn that a white man had been 
recently stripped, whipped, and branded with a red hot iron for 
some petty crime, by the officers of the law, in the presence ot 
my infoimant, and of all of the inhabitants who could be called 
together to witness this solemn testimony of the legislative bar- 
barism of their State. 

While I stopped under a tree near a house as a heavy rain 
cloud was passing, a white man came out, and after greeting me 
with a single word, began calling : " Duke, Clary, Tom, Joe," etc., 
finally collecting seven little negroes and three white children ; 
" Just look a here ! here 's a reg'lar nigger dog ; have it to ketch 
niggers when they run away, or do n't behave." (He got a piece 
of bread and threw it to Jude.) " There ! did you see that ! 
See what teeth she 's got, she 'd just snap a nigger's leg off. If 
you do n't mind I '11 get one — you Jule, if I hear you crying any 



THE HIGHLANDERS. 247 

more, I'll get this gentlemau to send me one. See Low strono- 
its jaws be ; lie says all lie 's got to do when a nigger do n't be- 
have, is just to say the word, and it'll snap a nigger's head right 
off, just as easy as you 'd take a chicken's head off with an ax." 
(The niggers look with dismay at Jude, who is watching them 
very closely expecting some more bread. The white children 
laugh foolishly.) 

July 6. — I have to-day crossed the Tomahila mountain, hav 
ing spent the night at an unusually comfortable house, known 
throughout all the country as " Walker's," situated at its western 
base. Apparently it is a house which the wealthy planters from 
the low country make a halting station on their journey to cer- 
tain sulphur springs further north and east. There were plenty 
of negroes, under unusually good government, and the table sup- 
ply was abundant and various. Yet every thing was greasy ; even 
what we call simple dishes, such as boiled rice, and toast, were 
served soaking in a sauce of melted fat. I gave the stable boy 
a quarter of a dollar for thoroughly cleaning my horse, but 
rode away with less than usual scrutiny of the harness, and when 
I came to climb a steep pitch of the mountain, discovered that 
the rascal had unbuckled and kept the preventer-girth. 

The road, which is excellent, and which was built by aid of a 
State appropriation, follows for some distance the slopes of a 
water course, and then, tack and tack, up a steep mountain-side, 
until, at about twelve miles from Walker's, a small plateau and 
clearing is reached, on which stands a cabin occupied by a man, 
who, as he told me, gets his living by turning bed-posts of maple, 
which grows here abundantly and is scarce below. 

After leaving this place, the road descends into a shallow val- 
ley in which flows the Tomahila river, a stream some twenty 



2^^ A JOUEN^EY m THE BACK COUNTRY. 

yards across, then follows for several miles along the crest of a 
deep dark gorge, at the bottom of which the i-iver roars in fre- 
quent cascades, and then mounts another high ridge. From the 
summit there is a grand prospect, to the eastward. Directly below 
is a deep valley, surrounded on all sides by a succession of mount- 
ain peaks. With the exception of one bald prominence tower- 
ing up on the left, these are all, notwithstanding their great 
height, densely wooded. Those directly opposite are some forty 
miles distant, and are among the highest elevations on the con- 
tinent. 

While I was resting my horse and looking at these distant 
summits, some thunder clouds drifted around and collected be- 
fore them, and then floated forward, hovering over the minor 
peaks and pouring copious showers upon them. The thunder 
grew constantly more threatening, and I began to descend hast- 
ily. A zigzag road has been made with great labor, so that by 
traveling two miles upon a descending slope, never more rapidly 
than at the rate of perhaps six feet in one hundred, you ac- 
complish with entire ease what would be, in a direct course down 
the steep side of the mountain, not more than a thousand feet. 
The entire distance to the valley is six miles. 

A little boy on a mule, carrying a mail-bag, here overtook me. 
He said that he carried the mail from Ashville to Murphy, one 
Imndred and fourteen miles, traveling each way once a week. 
He starts from Ashville Monday morning and returns there Sat- 
urday night, rests on Sunday, but during the week travels an av- 
erage of nearly forty miles a day on a mule's back. Last win- 
ter, he said, the snow was often up to the mule's shoulders on the 
mountain, but he did not fail to accomplish his stated journey 
every day. When I asked him how old he was, he said " he be- 



THE HIGHLANDERS. 249 

lieved that lie sliould be about fifteen in three or four months." 
He had two mules, but only changed from one to the other on 
alternate weeks. He was paid $5 a month, and board. 

Speaking of mountains, he asked if I " had ever been on Old 
Balsam ?" He had ; he was up on the top of it one morning at 
sunrise. I asked how he could sleep there — was there a cabin ? 
No, but he had been coon hunting with some fellows all night, 
and toward daylight they got to running a wild-cat, for they had 
a dog that would kill any wild-cat if it could catch it. They 
did not succeed, however, and just at sunrise they gave it up and 
found themselves close to the top of Old Balsam. Then he had 
to go down the mountain and get up his mule, and ride forty 
miles with the mail before be could go to sleep. It was as much 
as he could do to keep awake that day. 

Hearing that I belonged in New York, he asked if I knew a 
man there by the name of Poillon. Yes, I did ; he lived a little 
out of New York city, though — in the country. "The man I 
mean lives in New York center — rio-ht in the villao^e itself," he 
replied. I knew that there was a man there of that name, I 
said. "Well he went from Ashville." "Yes, perhaps so." "Oh 
he did, he went from there two year ago. Do you know a man 
there by the name of Ogee ?" 

" No." 

"There was a man at Ashville, came from somewhere in that 
country — Charleston, I believe 't was — by that name." 

" Charleston is not very near New York." 

"Ain't it? well, 't w^as Charleston he said, I believe; Charles- 
ton or New York, or some place out there." 

Another man near Waynesville in this region, asked me if I 



250 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

knew Mr. White, of New York. I did not. " Why, he belongs 
in New York." 

" Very likely, but New York is a large place. There are prob- 
ably a hundred people of the name of White there, but I do n't 
happen to know one of them." 

" Reckon you 'd know this man if he came from there, for he 's 
a man of talent ; must be one of the first men ; I never see a 
man who knew so much about all sorts of things, and who could 
explain every thing out to you, as well as he. Expect he must 
have come from some other place. I thought he said he was 
raised in New York, too." 

" Very possibly he was, but I know but very few indeed of all 
the men of talent in New York. You do n't consider how many 
people there are there." 

"It's a right smart business place, I know ; it must be. You 
know Mr. , do n't you ?" 

"Who is he?" 

" Why the little man that keeps store in Waynesville ; reckon 
you know him, he goes to New York every spring to buy goods ; 
seen him there, hain't you ?" 

" I do n't think that I have ; you see, there are seven hundred 
thousand people in New York, and there are thousands and tens 
of thousands whom I never saw. It would be impossible for me 
to see one in a thousand of the people who come there every year. 
In fact, though I have lived in New York some years, I have 
but very few acquaintances there, not nearly as many as you 
have in this county probably." 

" Such a big place ; I suppose there 's some people been living 
there all their lives that do n't know each other, and never spoke 
to one another once yet in their lives, ain't there ?" 



THE HIGHLANDERS. 251 

"Certainly — thousands of them." 

"'T ain't so here ; people 's more friendly, this country." 

Ashville, July 1 1 th. — This is a beautiful place among the hills, 
with a number of pretty country-seats about it, which, I suppose 
are summer residences of South Carolina planters. A great 
many of these " Southerners," as they are called here, are now 
traveling farther north, to spend the heat of summer at the 
numerous sulphur springs and other pleasure haunts, where good 
boarding houses have been established for them along the cool 
region of the Blue Ridge. I passed one of these, a sulphur 
spring, yesterday. It was a white, wooden building, with a long 
piazza for smokers, loungers, and flirters, and a bowling alley 
and shuffle board ; with coaches and trotting wagons at the 
stable ; poor women picking blackberries, poor men bringing 
fowls, school girls studiously climbing romantic rocks and other- 
wise making themselves as pretty as possible, children fighting 
their black nurses, and old gold spectacles stopping me to inquire 
if I was the mail, and if I had not got a newspaper. 

It is very odd, by the way, what old news one keeps getting in 
these places far from telegraphs. I inquired here for a late paper, 
and the clerk of the hotel went to a store to get one. It was 
the Ashville News, with the same articles copied from New York 
papers, which I had read a month before. All this country is to 
be netted by railroads soon, however, that is, as soon as they can 
be built after an appropriation to assist them passes Congress. 
I have crossed engineers' stakes every day, I believe, since I left 
Jackson, Mississippi, and generally, when I stop at night, the 
farmer tells me that a railroad, which will be the link which is 
wanting, either in a direct communication between the Atlantic 
and the Mississippi, or between New York and New Orleans, is 



252 A JOUENEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

to pass between liis lionse and his corn-crib, and tliat in conse- 
quence land about liim has lately become of great value, that is, 
from four to ten dollars an acre. He is in great perplexity, too, 
to conclude how much he can make the railroad company pay 
for damao-es. 

o 

Bay before yesterday I ascended "Balsam Mountain," said to 
have been recently ascertained to be the highest peak of the 
Apalachian chain. A barometrical measurement of Professor W. 
D. Jones, of Tennessee, makes it ten thousand and three hun- 
dred feet above the sea, or one hundred and five feet higher 
than Black Mountain, which has always had the reputation of 
being the highest. I was told that the ascent was easy, and 
could be made on horseback to within less than a quarter of a 
mile of the top. I was offered a guide, but preferred to go alone, 
leaving Belshazzar to rest and recruit below. 

The mountain is one of a very lofty range, and the gap be- 
tween it and the next peak is crossed by a (State) turnpike road. 
The distance to the top from this road is a])out four miles, and its 
elevation above the road, four thousand feet. A very rank 
growth of weeds and grass covers the ground on nearly all parts 
of the mountain to the top, which is all nsed as a range for cat- 
tle, horses and hogs, and would be very profitably employed in 
this way but for the havoc committed on young cattle, and espe- 
cially on swine and sheep, by bears, wolves and panthers. 

The horses and cattle make so many paths that I was soon led 
astray from the one which leads directly to the top (if there is 
any such), and had to shape my course by the sun, and the ap- 
parent feasibility of the ground in diff-erent directions before me. 
The mountain, to within less than a mile from the top, is entirely 
shaded bj- a forest of large trees, the chestnut pi-edominating. 



THE HIGHLANDERS. 253 

The only cliange found as yon ascend, is in their heiglit ; the 
trunks continually becoming shorter and sturdier. At perhaps 
half a mile from the summit, the trees appear gradually more 
scattered ; at length there is a nearly bald zone, covered, however, 
with grass and weeds waist high. Above this, at a quarter of a 
mile from the top, begins a forest of balsam firs (popularly 
called "balsams"). In the interval, between the two forests, the 
ascent was steep and fatiguing. AVhcther owing to the exertion 
of climbing altogether, or somewhat to the rarity of the atmos- 
phere, I w^as obliged to stop frequently to rest, to relieve myself 
from a rush of blood to the head. The moment I entered the 
balsam forest, I was freed from this. These balsams are thirty 
or forty feet high, and under their shelter flourish a variety of 
smaller trees and shrubs. A great many of these trees have fall- 
en down, and the nearer I came to the top the steeper became 
the ascent, the more frequent the prostrate trees, and the thicker 
and more impenetrable the undergrowth, a large part of it being 
blackberry briars. I crept under and climbed over, and pulled 
myself along slowly, and at length came to a knob or pinnacle, 
across and upon which, trees and shrubs, and stumps, with the 
roots uppermost, seemed to have been hurled by a whirlwind. 
Supposing this to be the summit itself, I climbed among the roots 
and briars, the best way I could, until I got my head above the 
wreck. It was very dark from the shade of the standing trees, 
and I perceived that the rocks rose still higher beyond. I 
worked my way down again and continued climbing, until I 
reached a comparatively level surface of several yards in extent, 
from which a number of trees had been cut away so as to open 
a view in two or three directions. A dense cloud hung in a cir- 
cle all around the peak, and though it was quite clear in the cen- 



254 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTEY. 

ter where I stood, I could not see beyond it at all. Overhead, at 
a still vast apparent distance, were striae, through which, at 
length, the sun came out for a few minutes, but the only effect 
was to give the cumulus below me a more mist-like and steamy 
appearance. At length came a slight breeze, and set it in rapid 
motion, and rent and lifted, and lowered it, so that I got a few 
glimpses across the neighboring mountains, and saw their tops 
rising above rolling thunder heads, one of which was dark, and 
probably discharging rain. I heard thunder, and conjectured that 
at a distance, the cloud within which I stood would appear to be 
a thunder cloud, w^ooly and snowy, and gilded when the sun 
shone, and dark and rainy below. 

The peculiarity of this mountain-top, distinguishing it from all 
others I know, of nearly equal height, is its moderate tempera- 
ture and consequent abundant vegetation. It was so warm (it 
was half past one), that, heated as I became by my exertions, I 
felt no necessity for putting on my coat. The air was soft and 
agreeable. The ground, a dark, rich soil, with rocks protruding 
and shaly stones, bore luxuriant coarse herbage. Beside the 
thick growth of firs, I noticed black birch, chestnut, mountain 
ash, wild currant, whortleberry, blackberry, honeysuckle, and a 
variety of cherry, all growing on the highest point. The air was 
of coarse moist, and every thing damp, and this was evidently its 
usual condition. All the dead and broken down trees, and the 
rocks were covered thickly with mosses and hchens, which were 
charged with water like a soaked sponge. 

I remained half an hour, hoping the cloud would clear away, 
but it only grew denser and darker. Beginning to descend, I 
found a path and endeavored to follow it, but as it soon ran into 
forks, branching out in every direction, I determined to pursue a 



THE HIGHLANDERS. 255 

direct course down tlie mountain to the edge of tbe balsam for- 
est, and then follow its lower line until I came to tlie path, or to 
the ridge along which I knew the path or way usually followed, 
led. I got lost, however, in the cloud, and descended at a point 
where the lower forest extended up so as to meet the firs. I 
could not see out, but turnino; to the left, continued descendino- 
diagonally. The slope was very steep, and the ground covered 
w^th shelving stones, so that it was difficult to keep my feet. At 
length, on an inclination of about thirty-five degrees, I slipped, 
caught myself with a quick motion of my foot, but at the next 
step, tripped on a protruding root or tangle of wee(^s, balanced 
for a moment and was then thrown down headlong. I was 
severely bruised, and for some minutes could not rise. Fortu- 
nately, at no great distance, I found a deep gully with a stream 
of cold water ; after bathing in which, I entirely recovered my 
strength, though it was not till after several days that the contu- 
sions I received ceased to be inconvenient. I soon reached a 
more moderate slope, with a rich soil, bearing large trees, and 
very luxuriant tangled herbage. 

Meanwhile the cloud on the pinnacle was muttering thunder, 
and growing darker and more threatening. As I hastened on, I 
saw at no great distance, waddling off" through the weeds, tw^o 
black bears, but was so fortunate as to meet no snakes, and 
nothing else at all memorable. At about half past six I reached 
the foot of the mountain, and shortly afterward the cloud on its 
summit swept downward and onward with heavy thunder and 
copious rain. 

I was about five hours descending and reaching the house 
whence I started. The farmer said that he went nearly to the 
top to salt his cattle once a week, and he could go up and back 



256 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTHy. 

again by his path in two hours. In going up I v/ent leisurely, 
stopping to sketch, and made a very good course until I got to 
the firs ; but in coming down I missed ray ^vay, and probably 
traveled over four times as much ground as was necessary. It 
was from carelessness or indifference at the start — I was willin<x 
to make a day of it. 

The view from under the cloud w^as very beautiful. The gen- 
eral character of the scenery is less grand than Ihat of the White 
Mountains, but it has impressive sublimity and repose. All the 
mountains are covered with trees, which, with the luxuriant herb- 
age beneath them, secures softness of outline. Brooks of clear 
water are frequent. The mountain sides are often very steep, 
but actual precipices or even large ledges or masses of rock, I 
have not seen. These mountains would therefore be more pleas- 
ant to ramble over than the White Mountains, and will probably, 
when railroads are completed in their neighborhood, be much re- 
sorted to for pleasure. At present there is no public conveyance 
to any point witliin thirty-five miles of the base of " Balsam 
Mountain." 

Mr. Buckley, a New York botanist, gives the following facts 
with regard to the mountains of this vicinity : 

" The following are the heights of some mountains, and places 
among the mountains of North Carolina, south and west of Ash- 
ville. These heights were ascertained by me with two of Green's 
standard barometers. Professor J. Le Conte, of Columbia, South 
Carolina, observed the stationary barometer at Waynesville, for 
the measurement of the highest Smoky mountains, and being 
called away by the duties of his professorship, Miss S. Cathey, 
with the same barometer, made observations at the Forks of Pio-- 
eon, Haywood county, while I was with another barometer on 



THE HIGHLANDERS. 257 

the tops of the other mountains measured. The highest are in 
the Great Smoky or Unaka range of mountains, on the line be- 
tween the States of North Carolina and Tennessee, near the head 
waters of the Oconakiftee and Little Pigeon rivers. You will 
observe that there are twelve peaks higher than Mount Wash- 
ington, and tvro higher than Mount Mitchell, 6711 feet high, 
which has long been considered the highest east of the Rocky- 
Mountains, viz. : Mount Le Conte, 6670 ; Mount Guyot, 6734 ; 
Mount Buckley, 6755 ; Clingman's Peak, 6941. 

"Those high mountains show ns why western Noi"th Carolina 
and eastern Tennessee have a northern climate in a southern lat- 
itude. 

" These late measurements show us that the highest mountains 
at the South are not at the sources of the largest rivers, as lias 
generally been supposed. 

" The highest mountains are covered with Abies Nigra and 
Abies Fraseri, which are rarely found growing beneath an eleva- 
tion of four thousand feet — the first being called by the inhab- 
itants the he-balsam, and the latter the she-balsam. The Abies 
balsamica is not found there as stated by Michaux. A large 
moss (Ilypnum splendens), often dotted with oxalis acetosella 
and Mitchella repens, almost invariably forms a thick, soft carpet 
beneath these balsam trees. Our little red squirrel (Sciurus 
Hudsonius), there called the mountain buma, sports and chatters 
among these balsam trees, feeding on their cones. He rarely de- 
scends to the base of the mountains." 

July 13. — I rode late last night, there being no cabins for 
several miles in which I was willing to spend the night, until I 
came to one of larger size than usual, with a irallery on the side 
toward the road and a good stable opposite it. A man on the 



258 A JOURNEY IN TUE BACK COUNTEY. 

gallery was about to answer (as I judged from his countenance), 
" I reckon you can," to my inquiry if I could stay, when the 
cracked voice of a worryful woman screeched out from within, 
" We do n't foller takin' in people." 

" No, sir," said the man, " we do n't foller it." 

" How far shall I have to go ?" 

" There 's another house a little better than three quarters of a 
mile further on." 

To this house I proceeded — a cabin of one room and a loft, 
with a kitchen in a separate cabin. The owner said he never 
turned anybody away, and I was welcome. He did not say that 
he had no corn, until after supper, when I asked for it to feed my 
horse. The family were good-natured, intelligent people, but 
very ignorant. The man and his wife and the daughters slept 
below, the boys and I in the cock-loft. Supper and breakfast 
were eaten in the detached kitchen. Yet they were by no 
means poor people. The man told me that he had over a thou- 
sand acres of rich tillable land, besides a large extent of mount- 
ain range, the most of which latter he had bought from time to 
time as he was able, to prevent the settlement of squatters near 
his valley-land. " There were people who would be bad neigh- 
bors I knew," he said, " that would settle on most any kind of 
place, and every body wants to keep such as far away from them 
as they can." (When I took my bridle off, I hung it up by the 
stable door ; he took it down and said he 'd hang it in a safer 
place. " He 'd never had any thing stolen from here, and he 
did n't mean to have — it was just as well not to put temptation 
before people," and he took it into the house and put it under his 
bed.) 

Besides this lar^re tract of land here, he owned another tract 



THK lilGlILANDJ^KS. 259 

of two hundred acres with a house upon it, rented for one third 
the produce, and another smaller farm, similarly rented ; he also 
owned a grist mill, which he rented to a miller for half the tolls. 
He had also a considerable stock of cattle and large crops of 
grain, so that he must be considered a very respectable capitalist 
for a mountaineer. He told me that he had thought a good deal 
formerly of moving to new countries, but he had been doing 
pretty well and had staid here now so long, he did n't much think 
he should ever budge. He reckoned he 'd got enough to make 
him a living for the rest of his life, and he did n't know any use 
a man had for more'n that. 

I did not see a single book in the house, nor do 1 think that 
any of the family could read. He said that many people here 
were talking about Iowa and Indiana; "was Iowa (Hiaway) be- 
yond the Texies ?" I opened my inap to show him where it was, 
but he said he " was n't scollar'd enough" to understand it, and I 
could not induce him to look at it. I asked him if the people here 
preferred Iowa and Indiana to Missouri at all because they were 
free States. "I reckon," he replied, "they don't have no allu- 
sion to that. Slavery is a great cuss, though, I think, the great- 
est there is in these United States. There ain't no account of 
slaves up here in the west, but down in the east part of this State 
about Fayetteville, there 's as many as there is in South Carolina. 
TT ill's the reason the West and the East don't agree in this 
State ; people out here hates the eastern people." 

" Why is that ?" 

" Why you see they vote on the slave basis, and there 's some 

of them nigger counties where there ain't more 'n four or five 

hundred white folks, that has just as much power in the Legisla- 

12 



260 A jorRisEY m the back codctry. 

ture as any of oiir mountain counties where there '11 be some 
thousand voters." 

He made further remarks against slavery and against slave- 
holders. AVhen I told liira that I entirely agreed with him, and 
said further that poor white people v/ere usually far better off in 
the fi'ee States than in the slave, he seemed a little surprised and 
said, " New York ain't a free State, is it ?" 

Laborers' wages here, he stated, were from fifty cents to one 
dollar a day, or eight dollars a month. " How much by the 
year ?" " They 's never hired by the year." 

" Would it be $75 a year ?" 

" 'T would n't be over that, any how, but 't ain't general for 
people to hire here only for harvest time; fact is, a man could n't 
earn his board, let alone his wages, for six months in the year." 

"But what do these men who hire out during harvest time do 
during the rest of the year ; do they have to earn enough in 
those two or three months to live on for the other eight or nine ?" 

" Well they gets jobs sometimes, and they goes from one place 
to another." 

" But in winter time, when you say there 's not work enough 
to pay their board ?" 

" Well, they keeps a goin' round from one place to another, 
and gets their living somehow." 

" The fact on 't is," he said at length, as I pressed the enquiry, 
" there ain't anybody that ever means to work any in this coun- 
try, except just along in harvest — folks do n't keep working here 
as they do in your country, I expect." 

" But they must put in their crops ?" 

" Yes, folks that have farms of their own, they do put in their 
craps and tend 'em, but these fellows that do n't have farms, thev 



THE HIGHLANDERS. 261 

won't work except in harvest, when they can get high wages [$8 
a month]. I hired a fellow last spring for six months ; I wanted 
him to help me plant and tend my corn. You see I had a short 
crap last year, and this spring I had to pay fifty cents a bushel 
for corn for bread, and I did n't want to get caught so again, not 
this year, so I gin this fellow $6 a month for six months — $36 
I gin him in hard silver." 

" Paid it to him in advance ?" 

" Yes, he would n't come 'less I 'd pay him right then. Well, 
he worked one month, and maybe eight days^— no, I do n't think 
it was more than six days over a month, and then he went away, 
and I hain't seen a sight on him since. I expect I shall lose my 
money — reckon he do n't ever intend to come back ; he knows 
I 'm right in harvest, and want him now, if ever I do." 

"What did he go away for?" 

" AMiy he said he was sick, but if he was, he got well mighty 
easy after he stopped working." 

" Do you know where he is now ?" 

" Oh, yes, he 's going round here." 

"What is he doing?" 

" Well, he 's just goin' round." 

"Is he at work for any one else ?" 

" Reckon not — no, he 's just goin' round from one place to an- 
other." 

At supper and breakfast surprise was expressed that I declined 
coffee, and more still that I drank water instead of milk. The 
woman observed, " 't was cheap boarding me." The man said 
he must get home a couple more covvs ; they ought to drink 
milk more, coffee was so high now, and he believed milk would 
be ju-st as healthy. The woman asked the price of coffee in 



262 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

New York ; I could not tell lier, but said I believed it was un- 
commonly liigb ; the crops bad been sbort. Sbe asked liow cof- 
fee grew. I told lier as well as I was able, but concluded by say- 
ing I bad never seen it growing. " Do n't you raise coffee in 
New York ?" sbe asked ; " I thougbt tbat was wbere it came 
from." 

Tbe butter was excellent. I said so, and asked if tbey never 
made any for sale. Tbe woman said sbe could make " as good 
butter as any ever was made in tbe yartb, but sbe could n't get 
any tbing for it ; tbere warn't many of tbe mercbants would buy 
it, and tbose tbat did, would only take it at eiglit cents a pound 
for goods." Tbe man said tbe only tbing be could ever sell for 
ready money was cattle. Drovers bougbt tbem for tbe New 
York market, and lately tbey were very bigb — four cents a 
pound. He bad driven cattle all tbe way to Cbarleston bimself, 
to sell tbem, and only got four cents a pound tbere. He bad 
sold corn bere for twelve and a balf cents a busbel. 

Altbougb tbe man could not read, be bad bonored letters by 
calling one of bis cbildren " Wasbington Irving," anotber was 
known as Matterson (Madison ?). He bad never tried manuring 
land for crops, but said, " I do believe it is a good plan, and if 1 
live I mean to try it sometime." 

A COLONIZATIONIST. 

July li]th. — I stopped last nigbt at tbe pleasantest bouse I 
have yet seen in tbe mountain ; a framed bouse, painted wbite, 
witb a log kitcben attacked. Tbe owner was a man of supe- 
rior standing. I judged from tbe public documents and law 
books on bis table, tbat be bad eitber been in tbe Legislature 
of tbe State, or tbat be was a justice of tbe peace. There 



THE HIGHLANDICRS. 263 

were aho a good many otlier books and iieAvspapers, cliieily of a 
religious character, lie used, however, some siiigiihirlv uncouth 
phrases common here, lie liad a store, and carried on farm- 
ing and stock raising. After a conversation about his agricul- 
ture, I remarked tliat tliere were but few slaves in this part of 
tlie country. He wished that there were fewer. They \\cvc not 
profitable property here, I presumed. They were not, he said, 
except to raise for sale ; but there were a good many people here 
who would not have them if they were profitable, and yet who 
were abundantly able to buy them. They were hoi-rid things, he 
thought ; he would not take one to keep it if it should be given 
to him. 'T would be a great deal better for the country, he be- 
lieved, if tliere was not a slave in it. He supposed it would not 
be right to take them away from those wlio had acquired propertv 
in them, without any remuneration, but he wished they could ah 
be sent out of the country — sent to Liberia. That was wdial 
ought to be done with them. I said it was evident that wherf 
thei-e were no slaves, other things being equal, there was gi'eatei 
prosperity than where slavery supplied the labor. lie did n't 
care so much for that, he said ; there was a greater objection to 
slavery than that, in his mind. He w^as afraid that there was 
many a man who had gone to the bad world, who would n't have 
gone Ihere if he had n't had any slaves, lie had been down in 
the nigger counties a good deal, and he had seen how it worked 
on the white people. It made the rich people, who owned the 
niggers, passionate, and proud and ugly, and it made the poor 
people mean. " People that own niggers arc always mad with 
them about something; half their time is spent in swearing and 
yelling at them." 



264 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

"I see you have 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' here," said I ; "hai^e 
you read it?" 

" Oh, yes." 

" And what do you think of it ?" 

" Think of it ? I think well of it." 

" Do most of the people here in the mountains think as you do 
about slavery ?" 

" Well, there 's some thinks one way and some another, but 
there 's hardly any one here that do n't think slavery 's a curse to 
our country, or who would n't be glad to get rid of it." 

I asked what the people about here thought of the l^ebraska 
Bill. He could n't say what the majority thought. AVould peo- 
ple moving from here to Nebraska now, be likely to vote for the 
admission of slavery there ? He thought not ; " most people 
would much rather live in a free State." He told me that he 
knew personally several persons who had gone to California, and 
taken slaves with them, who had not been able to brino- them 
back. There were one or two cases where the negroes had been 
induced to return, and these instances had been made much of in 
the papers, as evidence that the slaves were contented. 

"That's a great lie," he said; "they are not content, and 
nine tenths of 'em would do 'most any thing to be free. It's 
only now and then that slaves, who are treated unusual kind, and 
made a great deal of, will choose to remain in slavery if freedom 
is put in their way." He knew one man (giving his name), who 
tried to bring two slaves back from California, and had got started 
with them when some white people suspecting it, went on board 
the ship and told him it was against the law to hold negroes as 
slaves in California, and his negroes should n't go back with him 
unless they were willing to. Then they went to the slaves and 



THE HIGHLAXDERS. 2G5 

told them tliey need not return, if they prefevi'ed to stay, and 
the slaves said they had wanted very much to go back to North 
Carolina, yet they would rather remain in California, if they 
could be free, and so they took them ashore. He had heard the 
slave owner himself relating this and cursing the men who inter- 
fered. He had told him that they did no more than Christians 
were obliged to do. 

I overtook upon the road, to-day, three young men of the poor- 
est class. Speaking of the price of land and the profit of farm- 
ing, one of them said, believing me to ])e a southerner, 

" We are all poor folks here ; do n't hardly make enough to 
keep us in liquor. Anybody can raise as much corn and hogs on 
the mountains as lie '11 want to live on, but there ain't no lich 
people here. Nobody 's got any black ones — only three or four ; 
no one's got fifty or a hundred, like as they have down in the 
East." " It would be better," interrupted another, somewhat 
fiercely, "there warn't any at all; that's my mind about it; 
they're no business here; they ought to bo in their own country 
and take care of themselves, that 's what I believe, and I do n't 
care who bears it." But let the reader not be deceived by these 
expressions; they indicate simply the weakness and cowardice of 
the class represented by these men. It is not slavery they de- 
test ; it is simply the negro competition, and the monopoly of 
the opportunities to make money by negro owners, wdiich they 
feel and but dimly comprehend. 

HOW TIIEY TALK. 

A man said to me to-day, " It 's a heap warm." 

The hail here, as in Texas, is " Travehn' ?" after which : 

" Traveled a good piece ?" " What parts you been to ?" etc. 



266 A JOURNEY IX THU RACK COr-NTRY. 

If you ,„eet a man witl.out stopping, the salutation always i, 
;' How d'ye do, sir 2" never "Good ™on,i„g;" and on partinJ 
=t IS, "I „-ish you well, sir," more frequently (laan "Good bye" 
You arc always commanded to appear at the table, as elsewhere 
throughout the South, i„ a rough, peremptory tone, as if your 
host feared you would try to excuse yourself. 

"Come in to supper." "Take a self,. Some of the fry ? Help 
yourself to any thing you see that you can eat." 

They ask your name, but do not often call you by it, bnt hail 
you "Stranger," or "Friend." 

^^ Texas is always spoken of in the plural-" the Texies." 
" Bean't the Texies powerful sickly V 

" 111" is used for " vicious." " Is yo„r l,orse ill ?" " Not that I 
am aware of Does he appear so ?" " No ■ but some horses will 
b.te a stianger, if he goes to handling on 'em " 

" Is your horse ill ?" " No, I believe not." " I see he kind o' 
drapt Ins ears when I came up, 'zif he was playful." 
_ Everybody Pre met in the last three counties-,..fter ascertain- 
ingwhat parts I came frcn, and which parts I'm goin. to 
where I got my horse, wliat he cost, and of what breed lie i.' 
v.hat breed the dog is, and whether she's followed me all the 
way from the Texies, if her feet ain't worn out, and if I do n't 
tlnnk I 11 have to tote her if I go „„,eh further, and if I do n't 
want to give her away, how I like the Texies, etc.-has asked 
me whether I didn't see a man by the name of Baker in the 

lex.cs, who was .sheriff of county, and didn't behave 

exactly the gentleman, or another fellow bv the name of- 

who ran away from the same county and cut to the Texies I 've 
been askjd if they had done %hting yet in the Texies, referring 
to tlie Wcir with Mexirto. * 



THE IIIGllLANDErvS. 267 

IIIGilWAYS AND BYWAYS. 

" The prosperity of a country can be best estimated from the character of 
its roads," — Buslinell (?) 

ElizahetUton (pronounced Lizzi Betliton), Tcnn.^ July loth. — 
You will be surprised to find me dating from Tennessee again. 
I have made a very crooked course. My only guide in planning 
out my route ahead has been " Mitchell's Traveler's Guide.'* 
For the last month I have had my eye fixed upon a long stretch 
of straight road, running parallel to the North Carolina and 
Tennessee line, between Bakersville, N. C, and Greensville, Ya. 
I was forced, after giving up the road by Knoxville, to go as far 
east as Ashville, North Carolina, whence, according to my map, 
there was a road by the French Broad to Bakersville. But I 
Avas advised that the regular road-route to Bakersville was farther 
to the eastward, by Burnsville, so I fetched a course by Burns- 
ville. Here, people disagreed about the road to Bakersville, and, 
as to Greensville, they had never heard of it. I found my way 
to Bakersville, however, the third day after leaving Ashville, by 
a diflficult road — found, I should say, the guide posts to Bakers- 
ville. Finally, reading "Bakersville, 1 M.," I rode the mile, 
but could see no town ; there were only three log cabins within 
a distance of a quarter of a mile. I asked a boy at the first of 
these, " how f^ir is it to Bakersville ?" " It 's right up there." 
" IIow far ?" " Oh, right up there." I passed the two other 
cabins, and just beyond them meeting two great Tennessee 
bacon wagons, I asked the driver of one how for it was tc 
Bakersville. He had never heard of the place ; had seen no vil- 
lage in twenty miles. I rode back to the last of the three cabins, 

but it was unoccupied, the door being fastened by a stake thrust 

12* 



268 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTJIY. . 

into tlie gronnd and pressed against it. I went to the next cabin 
where I found an old man, of whom I asked, 

" Is this liouse Bakersville ?" 

"Yes, sir" (with gravity). He knew of no such place as 
Greensville ; there was no road running hence northwardly. 
There did use to be, he added, on second thoughts, a horsepath 
over the mountain to what was called the " Fields of Tow," but 
it had n't been used much for a long time, and he doubted if it 
could be found now. Beyond the Fields of Tow, he knew of no 
track at all to the northward. The shortest way into Virginia, 
he thought, was to cross Iron mountain into Tennessee. My 
map (thus agreeing with his advice,) showed a road to Elizabeth- 
ton, thence a straight road to Greensville. So I followed the 
road over the mountain, and soon found mile posts reading 
thus, 

TO EBI OM. 
{i. g.. To Eliza-Bethton, 10 miles). Here I find myself at fault 
again, there being no such road as is shown in the map, to 
Greensville ; at least, the post-master, the inn keeper and two 
merchants of the place, know of none. There is said to be a 
plain road, leading to Abington in Virginia, which, as it is the 
only road to the northward, I must, of course, follow. 

SLAVE AND FREE IN THE HOUSEHOLD. 

North-Eastern Tennessee, . — Night before last I spent at 

the residence of a man who had six slaves ; last night, at the 
home of a farmer without slaves. Both houses were of the best 
class common in this region ; two-story framed buildings, large, 
and with many beds, to accommodate drovers and wagoners, who, 
at some seasons, fill the houses which are known to be prepared 



TITE HIGHLANDERS. 269 

with stabling, corn, and beds for them. The sh^vchoLler was 
much the wealthier of the two, and his house originally was the 
finer, but he lived in much less comfort than the other. His 
house was in great need of repair, and was much disordered ; it 
was dirty, and the bed given me to sleep in was disgusting. He 
and his wife made the signs of pious people, but were very morose 
or sadly silent, when not scolding and re-ordering their servants. 
Their son, a boy of twelve, was alternately crying and bullying 
his mother all the evening till bed-time, because his father had 
refused to give him something that he wanted. He slept in the 
same room with me, but did not come to bed until after I had 
once been asleep, and then he brought another boy to sleep with 
him. He left the candle burning on the floor, and when, in five 
minutes after he had got into bed, a girl came after it, he cursed 
her with a shocking volubility of filthy blackguardism, demand- 
ing Avhy she had not come sooner. She replied gently and 
entreatingly, " I did n't think you 'd have more 'n got into bed 
yet, master John." The boys were talking and whispering ob- 
scenity till I fell asleep again. The white women of the house 
were very negligent and sluttish in their attire ; the food at the 
table badly cooked, and badly served by negroes. 

The house of the farmer without slaves, thougli not in good 
repair, was much neater, and every thing within was well-ordered 
and unusually comfortable. The women and girls were clean 
and neatly dressed ; every one was cheerful and kind. There 
was no servant. The table was abundantly supplied with the 
most wholesome food — I might almost say the first wholesome 
food — I have had set before me since I was at the hotel at 
Natchez— loaf bread for the first time, chickens, stewed instead 
of fried, potatoes without fat, two sorts of simple preserved fruit, 



27U A .JOURNEY IX THE BACK COUNTRY. 

and -^vhortlebeny and blackberry pics. (The first time I have 
had any of these articles at a private house since I was in Western 
Texas.) All the work, both within and without the house, was 
carried on regularly and easily, and it was well done, because 
done by parties interested in the result, not by servants interested 
only to escape reproof or punishment. 

Doubtless two extreme cases were thus brought together, but 
similar, if less striking, contrasts are found the general rule, ac- 
cording to my experience. It is a common saying with the drov- 
ers and wagoners of this country, that if you wish to be well 
taken care of, you must not stop at houses v.diere they have 
slaves. 

THE METHODISTS OF THE NORTHERN SOUTH. 

The man of the last described house was intelligent and an 
ardent Methodist. The room in which I slept was papered with 
the " Christian Advocate and Journal," the Methodist paper of 
New York.* At the slaveholder's house, my bedroom was par- 
tially papered with " Lottery Schemes." 

The free laboring farmer remarked, that, although there were 
few slaves in this part of the country, he had often said to his 
wife that he would rather be living where there were none. He 
thought slavery wrong in itself, and deplorable in its effects upon 

* Religion in Virginia. — A mass meeting of citizens of Taylor county, 
Virginia, was held at BootJiesville recently, at which the following, among 
other resolutions, was passed unanimously : 

" That the five Christian Advocates, published in the cities of New York, 
Pittsburg, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Chicago, having become Abolition 
sheets of the rankest character, we ask our commonwealth's attorneys and 
post-masters to examine them, and, if found to be of an unlawful character, 
to deal with them and their agents as the laws of our State direct." — Wash- 
in jion Republic. 



THE HIGHLANDERS 271 

the white people. Of all the Methodists whom he knew in 
nortli-eastern Tennessee and south-western Virginia, he believed 
that fully three fourths would be glad to join the Methodist 
Church North, if it were " convenient." They generally thought 
slavery wrong, and believed it the duty of the church to favor 
measures to bring it to an end. lie v/as not an Abolitionist, he 
said ; he did n't think slaves could be set free at once, but they 
ought to be sent back to their o^vn country, and while they were 
here they ought to be educated. He had perceived that great 
injustice was done by the people both of tlic North and South, 
towards each otliei'. At the South, people were very apt to be- 
lieve that the northerners were wanting not only to deprive them 
of their property, but also to incite the slaves to barbarity and 
murder. At the North, people thought that the negroes were all 
very inhumanely treated. That was not the case, at least here- 
abouts, it was n't. If I would go with him to a camp meeting 
here, or to one of the common Sunday meetings, I would see 
that the negroes were generally better dressed than the whites. 
lie believed that they were always well fed, and they were not 
punished severely. They did not work hard, not nearly as hard 
as many of the wdiite folks ; they were fat and cheerful. I said 
that I had perceived this, and it was so generally, to a great de- 
gree, throughout the country ; yet I was sure that on the large 
plantations it was necessary to treat the slaves with great sever- 
ity. He " expected" it was so, for he had heard people say, who 
had been on the great rice and cotton plantations in South Caro- 
lina, that the negroes were treated very hard, and he knew there 
was a man down here on the railroad, a contractor, who liad 
some sixty hands which he had hired in Old Virginny ("that's 
what we call eastern Virginia here"), and everybody who saw 



2V2 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

tlicm at work, said lie drove tbem till they could hardly stand, 
and did not give them half what tliey ought to have to eat. He 
was opposed to the Nebraska bill, he said, and to any further 
extension of slavery, on any pretext ; the North w^ould not do its 
Christian duty if it allowed slavery to be extended ; he Vv^ished 
that it could be abolished in Tennessee. He thought that many 
of the people who went hence to Kansas would vote to exclude 
slavery, but he was n't sure that they would do it generally, be- 
cause they would consider themselves southerners, and would not 
like to go against other southerners. A large part of the emi- 
gration from this part of the country went to Indiana, Illinois, 
and Iowa ; those States being preferred to Missouri, because they 
were free States. There were fewer slaves hereabouts now, than 
there were when he was a hoy. The people all thought slavery 
wrong, except, he supposed, some slaveholders who, because they 
had property in slaves, would try to make out to themselves that 
it was right. He knew one rich man who had owned a great 
many slaves. He thought slavery was wrong, and he had a 
family of boys growing up, and he knew they would n't be good 
for any thing as long as he brought them up with slaves ; so he 
had told his slaves that if they wanted to be free, he w^ould free 
them, send them to Liberia, and give them a hundred dollars 
to start with, and they had all accepted the ojffer. He himself 
]iever owned a slave, and never would own one for his own 
benefit, if it were given to him, "first, because it was wrong; and 
secondly, because he didn't think they ever did a man much 
good." 

I noticed that the neighbors of this man on each side owned 
slaves ; and that their houses and establishments were much 
poorer than his. 



THE HIGHLANDERS. , 273 

SOUTH-AVMi:STERX VUiGIXIA. 

Ahington^ Va..^ July 11th. — Abington is a compact little town, 
with a good deal of wealth. The country all about here, this 
side of the Yii'ginia line, is rich and beautiful. The surface is 
rolling, with fine oak woods, clear of undergrowth, good pastures, 
luxuriant corn, and tolerable grain crops, good clover and grass. 
Land of the best, within three miles of the town, is worth $100 ; 
ten miles out, ^25 an acre. The Virginia and Tennessee rail- 
road is being constructed through this place. The hotel seems 
to be pretty well kept ; every thing is tolerable, except the beds. 
"While I was washing myself from head to foot, a white man sud- 
denly opened the door, and looked at me for a minute in silence, 
till I feced him. 

" What yer doin' ?" 



W^hat am I do 



mo- 



?" 



" Yes, what yer doin' V (laugliing.) 

" W^hy, sir, can't you see ?" 

" AVashin' on yer, he ! he !" 

" Yes." 

" Yes, humjjh !" and he withdrew, laughing foolishly. 

July, 18fh. — Left Abington. The country continues beautiful, 
rich and productive, much like central New York. There are 
more slaves here than I have seen before for several weeks. 
Negroes and whites seem to be about equally employed in agri- 
cultural labor. I saw this morning seven cradlers together. The 
leader was a negro, the second man a white, then four negi'oes, 
and a white at the foot. They were followed, as long as I could 
see them, by the owner or overseer, who walked close behind 
them with a stick iu his hand. An old man, whom I overtook 



274 . A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTHY. 

riding upon the road, told ine that niggers had all been hired 
to work on the raih-oad, at 8200 a year. White laborers were 
paid $10 a month. " But," said he, "they don't do so much 
work here as they do in the north country. They say nobody 
works so hard here as they do where you come from ; neither 
niggers nor white men will do more than half as much in a day, 
so they say." 

I passed upon the road two large flocks of sheep. The drivers 
said tliey had brought them from western Tennessee, where they 
cost $1 a head on an average. They intended to drive tliem two 
hundred miles further, into " the valley of Virginia," where they 
would be sold to farmers who would fatten them on meal, and 
sell them to drovers for the New York markets. They expected 
to get $2 to 83 a head. This sort of business is fast increasing 
in Virginia ; fatting cattle being found in most localities much 
more profitable than grain growing. 

Agriculture in all northei-n Virginia is, I apprehend, in a tran- 
sition state, from pure grain, to what the English writers call 
" convertible husbandry," and the change is likely to progress, 
and I think will be unfavorable to slavery. 

I stopped for the night at a large, handsome house ; the owiier 
a well-informed, thoughtful gentleman, was evidently an excellent 
manager and master. In contrast with what I have recently 
seen, the house was extremely clean and well-ordered, as were 
also the gardens, stables, and other surroundings ; the servants 
were attentive, and I heard but one reproof of them while I was 
in the house. The table was neat, the food wholesonie and well 
cooked. I compared notes with the gentleman upon crops and 
farm economy. He said the average crop of the country was 
not over eight bushels of wheat to the acre ; his own crop last 



r M K n iG II r, A N o K Rs . 275 

year wns twenty-seven (on a inrni of fonr Imndrcd acres tillage 
land). The diftercnec was principally owiug to more careful cul- 
tivation, lie plowed ten inches deep, with three horses to a 
}>lo\v. His usual crop of corn was forty to fifty bushels to the 
acre, sometimes much more. 

He asked if I did not think as he did, that their climate here 
was more favorable to profitable agriculture than that of New 
York. I thought that it was so for all purposes of agriculture, 
except for the small grains. " But," rejoined he, " you have one 
great advantage over us. If I could get good laborers as easily 
as you can in New York, I would never have another negro on 
my place ; it 's a part of the evil we suffer from slavery that it 
spoils our white men. Our white hands are not, in general, a bit 
better than the negroes." He employed several white handsi 
and paid them ten dollars a month ; and they wanted the sanio 
whether they were hired by the year or only for the summer. 
They did n't care to work for any great length of time without a 
change. They were very stupid at work, almost as much so as 
the negroes, and could not be set to do any thing that required 
the least exercise of judgment, unless he stood over them con- 
stantly. Yet he beheved that the white men, whom he had this 
year at 8120 a year wages, were worth more to him than the 
negroes who were hired for $140. One of the latter was almost 
useless, and this entirely from laziness and stupid indifi'erence, for 
he was strong enough ; he hardly paid for his bread. Still there 
was much that was inconvenient and unpleasant in employing 
white men, especially where thoy were employed with negroes. 

His white hands all were seated with us at the breakfast table ; 
coarse, dirty, silent, embarrassed, and embarrassing men. 

He afterwards observed that if thev could o-^t rid of slaves. 



276 4 JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

and obtain a sufficient number of white laborers to do tlieir field 
work, they woukl still have to employ negro girls for tlic kitchen 
and household labor. The white girls Avho would go out to work 
were worse than the men, much worse than the negroes, lie 
did not know a white girl wdio would hire out, whose habits 
were such that he could endure to have her in his house. In 
fact, no girl hereabouts, whose character was good, would ever 
hire out to do menial service. There were some Maine gentle- 
men whom he knew, who were professors in Emery and Henry 
College. They thought slavery wrong, and they would n't buy 
slaves, and had tried to o-et alonof v/ith white o'irls, but they were 
obliged to give it up, and pay owners for the use of their slaves, 
as cooks and maids. 

Abolition of slavery he thought impracticable. The slaves 
could not take care of themselves. If they were freed and 
allowed to remain here, they w^ould ruin the country. Every 
one knew, he said, that the State w^ould be far more prosperous 
if the slaves were out of it. No doubt the State would be richer 
if they were all taken out of it without being paid for. He 
wished they might be. 

Jnhj IQth. — Last night I spent with the family of a farmer 
who owned three or four negroes, and lived in a superior sort of 
log cabin quite comfortably. Indeed, a higher degree of com- 
fort is generally evident since I entered Virginia. Although 
they had slaves, and there was a daughter, eighteen or t\venty 
years old, I observed that they had a slovenly and very ugly 
white girl (possibly a very light mulatto), who seemed to be a 
servant, and who did not come to the table with the family, but 
gave the negroes their breakfast in the kitchen while we ate in 
an adjoining room w^ith the door between the rooms open. 



THE HIGHLANDERS. 277 

On a small table in the parlor -svere some books, the " Revival 
Miscellanies," and the " Alarm to the Unconveited," two Meth- 
odist Hymn Books, a large Bible, and a North Carolina Almanac, 
of the year before. The mother of the family, a very kindly 
fat old lady, officiated at family prayers. 

" What yer done v.'ith yer gnn ?" inquired the mother ; " see 
you 'vc got your shot pouch." 

" No, madam, it is not shot I carry in this pouch." 

" No. 'Lowed 't wan't shot." 

Silence and universal gravity, the eyes of the whole family 
bent on my kiather pocket for the next five minutes. At length, 
a young man asks if I got much gold in Texas. He had heard 
say there was powerful good mines there. I told him there were 
no gold mines in operation in Texas ; perhaps it was California 
he meant. He did n't know but it was ; it was either Texas or 
California; he was sure he'd heard people say there was heaps 
of gold got out there. 

These people told me that they had heard that some Yankees 
(" that 's what they called people who came from that part of the 
country," they parenthesized — New Jersey Yankees,) had come 
down into Virginia somewhere to raise stuff for New York. 
" They come here because it is so much hotter, and they can 
raise things earlier than they can about New York, and then 
they take 'em on to New York. The New Yorkers is so fond of 
novels that they '11 pay high for 'em to come a little earlier." 

July 20th. — After two farmers had declined to receive me, 
because, as they said, they had not got any corn and were not 
prepared for travelers, and did not like to take them in unless 
they could treat them well, I stopped, near nine o'clock, at a 
house to which they had recommended me, as the best within 



278 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK OOITNTRY. 

some miles. It was a boarded log house, of four rooms and a 
gallery. The owner was a farmer, with two hired white hands 
besides his sons; the v.'hole family coarse, ignorant people. As 
I took a seat for my supper, the mother placed herself opposite 
to me, resting her two red scabby arms on the table, smoking a 
pipe, and in the most good-natnred way, inquired into ail the 
particulars of my life as far as possible ; whether I were married 
or not, what "persuasion" (religious sect) my father and mother 
belonged to, etc., etc. She had had some notion of moving to 
Texas. A woman who went out from here and settled there, 
wrote home that she had n't got any cows of her own yet, but 
she could have the milking of twent}-, if she wanted, that belonged 
to the planters around ; and she made butter and sold it at 37^ 
cents a pound to the very men who owned the cows. They 
were too lazy to make butter for themselves, but they liked it so 
well they would pay 37i cents a pound for it. The old woman 
thought if she could get 37^ cents a pound for making butter, it 
would n't take long for her to get rich, and "I'd like to be rich," 
said she, " not so rich as Wade Hampton, but so rich I need n't 
do any more work." There had been several othei's from here- 
about, however, who went out to Texas and did n't like it. There 
were two young men came back last spring. They said 't v/as a 
right level flat country, and 'twas all of such deep, sticky mud, 
that it took five pair of mules to haul a load of corn, and it was 
dreadful sickly there, and there was n't any water at all ; all that 
people had to drink was rain water that they caught and kept. 
These men had, it appeared, landed at Galveston or Indianola, 
gone back only a few miles from the coast, lived tiiere through a 
summer, and then returned disgusted with Texas, as well they 
mio;ht be if that were all of it. 



THE HIGHLANDERS. 279 

Although there were four rooms in the house, six of us, inchid- 
ing a girl of fifteen, were bedded in one tight room. There 
were no sheets at all on my bed, and what, with the irritation of 
the feathers and the blanket, the impurity of the air, and a cry- 
ing child, I did not fall asleep till near daylight. 

Kotwithstanding it was the middle of the harvest season, and 
they had mentioned to me that their oats had been struck with 
rust, and would lose value very rapidly every additional hour 
they remained uncut, there seemed to be no hurry about getting 
to work in the morning. I hastened them all I could, in order 
to ride while the day was tolerably cool, but the sun was thi'ee 
hours high beibre breakfast was ready, and even when I rode 
away after it was finished, all the men and boys were lounging 
on the gallery, waiting to see me start, before they went afield ; 
nothing at all out of doors having been done before breakfast, 
not even the grinding of scythes. 

The following day I descended the eastern slope of the Blue 
Kidge and came to tliat part of Virginia which was considered 
in the first volume of this work. 

Richmond, where I arrived a week later, somewhat surprised 
me by its substance, show and gardens, and I was inclined to 
think that in coming to it directly from New York and Philadel- 
phia, I had been led to rather underrate its quality at my first 
visit.""' There are only six towns, having a town-like character, 
in the slave States — New Orleans, Mobile, Louisville, St. Louis, 
Charleston, and Richmond. Savannah, and all the other "places" 
having, like it, in winter, a population for a town, are simply 
overgrown villages in appearance, and in convenience ; half the 
streets tolerably good pastures, the other half intolerable cart- 
* Seaboard Slave States, p. 19. 



280 A JOUKNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

roads; the best mansions, clap-boarcl, Americo-moresqne cot- 
tages ; the best gardens in a setting of picket fence ; the public 
squares mere camp grounds, with weedy walks and sedge-grass 
lawns ; the majority of the shops selling raisins, nailrods and nig- 
ger clotlj, from the same counter with silks, and school books and 
" bitters." Richmond, by contrast, is a metropolis, having some 
substantial qualities, having a history, and something prepared for 
a future as well. Compared with northern towns of the same 
population, there is much that is quaint, provincial and excessively 
slovenly, especially in whatever connects directly with the coun- 
try, such as the marketing. It is only the mills and warehouses, 
a few shops and a few private residences and hotels, that show 
real enterprise or real and permanent wealth. 

The Crawford Washington Monument is much the highest 
attainment of American plastic art, and would be a glory to any 
town or country, but it points to the past. What a failure has 
there been in the promises of the past ! 

That, at last, is what impresses one most in Richmond. It is a 
metropolis, and, of course, the tide of modern life elsewhere 
reaches it, stii-s it, and here and there possesses it, but yet it is 
plainly the metropolis of Virginia, of a people who have been 
dragged along in the grand march of the rest of the world, but 
who have had, for a long time and yet have, a disposition within 
themselves only to step backward. 

Revolting from the generous and noble theories of Jefferson 
the essential difficulty with Virginians of to-day is want of faith 
in the capacity of men individually, white and black. Wealth, 
knowledge, and morality, are practically regarded as the acci- 
dents of men, not as their earnings. Slavery, and the laziness and 
faithlessness of the poor whites, are deplored, especially through 



THE IIIGIILANDEES. 281 

out the west, but every oue says, and every one feels, it is liopelcss 
to contend with these evils. " Slavery makes our' poor whites 
worthless laborers ; even slaves are better. The country lan- 
guishes for want of laborers. No one then must be allowed to 
think of our dispensing with slaves." They thus acknowledge 
the cause of the evil ; but show that they have not a. spark of 
faith in the capacity of their poor whites to improve, even on the 
removal of this cause. This is what they mean, when they say, 
" It is impossible to abolish slavery ;" — it is impossible to live with- 
out somebody can be made to work. In every neighborhood, I 
found hope to center in something to come from without A 
railroad or canal, which the Governor had recommended the 
State to aid; a copper or coal mine, or salt works, which some 
New Yorkers were talking about establishing ; a new college, 
which some religious body proposed to found. But, lately, in the 
extreme West, where slaves are no direct impediment, a new hope 
seems to have got a lodgment, and where, even on the frontier, a 
newspaper can not be prevented from giving utterance to it, in 
such a manner as is done in the following paragraph from the 
Wheeling Intelligencer, it is impossible that it shall not bring 
with it at least a negative faith. A faith that will not resist, if it 
may not encourage, an infusion of such elements of improvement, 
as will make the obstruction which slavery presents to wealth, 
more and more obvious to all, at the same time that the possi- 
bility of dispensing with it is demonstrated. 

" The present great and pressing want of our State, like that 
of the United States, is cultivation and improvement, not enlarge^ 
ment or annexation, and the obvious and the only mode of a 
rapid growth of oar State or city, is such a change of public 
policy as shall invite to our aid and cooperation our Caucasian 



282 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

cousins, the intelligent, moral and industrious artizans, mechanics, 
miners, manufacturers, farmers, and commercial men of Europe 
and the northern States, to share our taxation, develop our 
resources, and mate ours a white man's country, with all the 
energy, education, love of order, of freedom, and of progress 
characteristic of the Anglo-Saxon race. The history of the world, 
and especially of the States of this Union, shows most conclu- 
sively that public prosperity bears an almost mathematical pro- 
portion to the degree of freedom enjoyed by all the inhabitants 
of the State. Men will always work better for the cash than for 
the lash. The free laborer will produce and save as much, and 
consume and waste as little as he can. The slave, on the con- 
trary, will produce and save as little, and consume and waste as 
much as possible. Hence States and counties filled with the 
former class must necessarily flourish and increase in population, 
arts, manufactures, wealth, and education, because they are ani- 
mated and incited by all the vigor of the will ; while States filled 
with the latter class m^ust exhibit comparative stagnation, be- 
cause it is the universal law of nature that force and fear end in 
ruin and dccav." 



CHAPTER VII. 

PATRIARCHAL LIFE IN VIRGINIA, AND IN GENERAL. 

JAMES KIVER CHAT. 

From Richmond I went with my horse and dog direct to 
New York by the steamer. There were but few first-class pas- 
sengers ; the majority of those who did not leave at the river 
landings, or at Norfolk, being Northern men, or men of North- 
ern birth doing business at the South, and going North with 
their families for the remainder of the summer. 

Of the project of a line of "mammoth steamships," to be 
established between Richmond and Antwerp, with the assistance 
of mail patronage from the United States, and loans from the 
Belgian and Virginian governments, which, when I was last on 
James River, was the exciting topic of conversation, I now no 
longer heard a word spoken. The party of progress, however, 
represented by six gentlemen in black, with gold-headed walking- 
sticks, sitting in caucus around a spittoon by the side of the 
wheel-house, as we were carefully floated in ballast over the 
shoals, were equally animated in the confidence of some new 
scheme, which it was deemed equally safe and respectable to 
discuss publicly, and which it was held with equal confidence 
would be the sure salvation of old Yir2:inia. 

My room-mate proved to be a Mississippian, lazy and amiable, 

a sort of smouldering fire-eater. He sneered at the Virginians 

13 



284 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

and their speculations, and held men to be little better than 
fools who would keep niggers to make corn and tobacco, when by- 
moving them to his own region, and setting them to make cotton, 
they might easily double their incomes. But they did not keep 
them to make corn, he said, they kept them to breed and raise 
young ones. It was folly to pretend that they did not. A man 
might not raise a nigger with a well-considered plan to sell him 
eighteen years after he was born ; he might never sell a nigger, 
but for all that, it was the readiness with which he could com- 
mand a thousand dollars for every likely boy he had, if he 
should ever need it, that made him stay here and be bothered 
with taking care of a gang of niggers who barely earned enough 
to enable his family to live decently. He did not sell them, be- 
cause he thought they were a good investment to hold, and men 
were proud of being able to hold a big lot of niggers. There 
were not many men here, either, who did not sell their niggers 
oiF, some of them, every year or two ; whenever they w^anted 
money. Some pretended that they only sold the rascals, but 
the rascals they sold were generally likely boys, just the thing 
for cotton pickers, and would bring more money than the slow 
men and the women whom they kept. If they did not sell 
them off, why were not the stocks larger? There were a few 
men here who owned a hundred or two niggers, but not nearly 
as many as in Mississippi, and yet every body knew a nigger 
stock would naturally increase twice as fast here as it would in 
Mississippi. What became of them if they were not sold ? He 
had never sold a nigger in his life, but he had bought a good 
many, and two-thirds of them were fresh from Virginia. He 
had one boy who said that the man who raised him had sold him 
to get the money to pay for a piano which he had bought for his 



PATBIARCHAL LIFE IN VIRGINIA. 285 

daughter. A gentleman would never tliink of doing such a 
thing as that in Mississippi. He would always calculate to pay 
from his crop. 

I have more than once observed that the rich men of the South- 
west feel themselves rather a superior class to the Virginians, 
somewhat as the rich Virginia country-gentlemen look upon 
Northern farmers — as if agriculture in a free-labor country were 
necessarily a small and rather mean business. The following 
passage from an article in the Brandon Republican, a Mississippi 
newspaper, manifests the general incredulity with regard to the 
assertion that slaves are not bred for commercial purposes in 
Virginia and the adjoining States, which it is impossible to resist 
in regions where half the population of a county often consists of 
negroes who have been sold from that State : 

" Now let us consider the prpbable consequences of drawing upon 
the savage and barbcarous hordes of Africa for slaves to compete with 
our own, and most likely eventually drive out of Southern markets 
the slave breeders of the South. Are there not, including South Car- 
olina — although for the last eight or ten years she has thrown upon us 
more slaves than any one of the old slave States — six States that must 
hereafter derive pi-ofit from breeding slaves for the Southern States or 
derive no profit from the institution ? We mean Delaware, Maryland, 
Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Missouri. Nearly one third 
of the population of these States are slaves. If slave labor can not be 
made to pay there — and we hear it continually asserted that tiiis labor 
can not be advantageously employed in grain growing countries — then 
what are they to do with their slaves if this policy is inaugurated and 
they are excluded from Southern markets, they being forced to retain 
in their hands property which can make no a'lequate return for the 
expenses of feeding, clothing, etc ? Do you think, reader, that any 
surer means could be employed to call into existence an abolition sen- 
timent there than that of forcing these States to retain in their territory 
a large and expensive body of slaves that they can not find remuner- 
ative employment for ? No practical man will believe that they will 
keep them when the time comes that they can not be turned to profit. 
Should they be shut out from the Southern markets, with their heavy 
slave population to 'harass them and eat out their substance,' and al- 
most unproductive and rapidly producing, how can they keep them? 
Let it come to this, and we predict that their owmers will get rid of 



286 A JOUKNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

them, even if they are compelled to incur the expenses of their sliip- 
ment to Africa. Allow them still to find a profit in slave breeding, 
and their affection for the institution will remain as fixed as ' Ixion on 
his wheel." 

To the same effect is the following admission of the Charles- 
ton Standard in an article on agricultural improvement at the 
South : 

'' The Virginia journalists have repeatedly borne witness to the fact, 
that in many districts, where large estates have been divided and sold 
to small farmers, the land is turning^ off from three to six times as much 
produce as it did a few years ago."* 

This is much the same as saying, that from certain limited 
districts of Virginia, where slavery has been practically aban- 
doned (the slaves having been sold off by the sheriff in most 
cases) the contribution of the earth to the comfort of the human 
race has almost immediately been increased four fold. 

Once again, during the afternoon, I had the pleasure of wit- 
nessing a scene similar to those described in the first volume, in 
the same locality, the joyful welcome of white people, returning 
to their plantation, by their house-servants ; and again I noticed 
tlie comparative indifference of the field-hands or common slaves, 
who barely touched their tatterred hats and grinned, before lift- 
ing on to each other's heads the trunks which were to be thus 
carried to the house after the carriage which bore the whites 
and upper servants altogether. This humbler kind did not say 
one word to their master or mistress, and only grinned in sym- 
pathy with the excitement of the young people, nor were they 
spoken to at all, so far as I observed. 

I am here reminded that I may seem to have hitherto too 
much overlooked a certain view of Southern life, much delighted 

* Charleston Standard, August 17, 1854. 



PATRIARCHAL LIFE IN VIRGINIA. 287 

in by novelists and poets, and not usually neglected by travelers, 
I mean that which, in debates, is commonly alluded to when the 
terms, patriarchal, paternal, filial, tutellary and pupilage, are 
used, the two latter terms being less frequently heard of late 
years than in the early days of the republic. 

The truth is, that I have made, as all travelers are inclined to 
mate, the most I honestly could of every instance or indication of 
such a relation as these terms express, that I have seen. Any- 
thing of the kind is always interesting, and gratifying to read of 
and to write of, as it is to witness. Would I then have it inferred 
that Slavery has been too much honored in this respect ? I must 
say that such is my conviction. 

Will the reader consider how many poets and novelists, and 
what is of more consequence, how many apparently matter-of-fact 
travelers speak of our Yankee tars otherwise than as gallant, jolly 
and generous fellows, or of the red Indian otherw^ise than as the 
calm, sad, dignified child of nature — " the noble savage." And 
yet the reader probably knows, if he has taken the trouble to look 
the facts in the face, regardless of traditions and predispositions, 
that American seamen, (sea-going,) as a class, are more wretched, 
and are governed more by threats of force than any other civilized 
laborers of the world. There arc exceptions. There are ports 
from which when ships are manned the rule is otherwise. But 
at our great ports. New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, the sailor 
of sea-going ships, nine times out of ten, when sober and not led 
to do otherwise by vanity or a desire to satisfy your romantic 
interest, will tell you that he hates the sight of blue water, that 
he habitually hates his ship, hates his officers, hates his mess- 
mates and despises himself. And as for the red man of nature, 
when found in a state of nature, what, in fact, is he ? Nine 



288 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

times out of ten experience will say that the description which 
in the second volume of this work* I quoted, as best expressing 
my own obversation among the most natural and the most war- 
like, that is, the most murderous and every way detestable tribes 
on the continent, is no libel; — "a conceited, tiresome, bloodthirsty 
monotonous humbug." 

Civilization is, in fact, the best condition of mankind, and the 
steps by which mankind have arrived at civilization do not need 
to be retraced to find morality, respectability or happiness. 

The supposition of a master's occupying the position of a 
father toward his slaves and of the slaves accepting this relation, 
affectionately, faithfully and confidingly, is an improbable one. 
Imagine a household consisting of first a man and wife, second 
an ordinary family of sons and daughters, for whom the parents 
must have a special affection, and who must be favored and 
petted, as compared with — third, twenty to fifty additional sons 
and daughters, of ail ages, the majority being adults, however, but 
all subject in all their movements, not to the influence and advice 
merely, but absolutely and abjectly, to the will, of their parents, 
not being able to eat or drink, or to dress, or to engage in any 
business, or to pursue any inclination of taste, or to marry, except 
with the approval of their father, not even after marriage to be 
any more independent than before. There is not one man among 
millions whose household under such circumstances would not be 
a pandemoniam. The slaves are not their master's children; he 
is not affected in his government of them by the instinctive regard 
for their happiness which a parent might have. 

The patriarchal condition of society is, in fact, an exceedingly 

* Journey in Texas, p. 289. 



PATKIAKOIIAL LIFE IN VIRGINIA. 



289 



mde, uncomfortablo and low state of society, only endurable by 
indolent, wandering n,en, who are obliged for purposes of defense 
to remain attaebed, on any terms which may be required, to the 
most convenient nucleus of combined strength which ,s offered 
them. If a solitary wanderer on the great plains without arms 
or food should be overtaken by a family of wanderers, and the 
father should offer to supply him with food, and to furnish him 
with means of defense, on condition that he wculd obey his orders 
and attach his fortunes to those of the family, he would probably 
accept the proposal, and would remain in irksome dependence so 
long as the family were subject to the dangers of the wilderness, 
but as soon as the opportunity of fixed settlements and a peace- 
able organization of many independent families made it possible, 
he would form other and various associations and direct his 
movements according to his own judgment, for his own good, 
and it would doubtless be for the best good of all concerned that 

he should do so. 

The patriarchal condition is a transitional one. If long 
maintained it must be by an abuse of intelligence and at the 
expense of comfort and morality. It then ceases to be paternal 
and becomes oppressive; becomes degrading, both in patriarch 
and patriarchate. The true teaching of history is clearly ex- 
pressed in the following passage from Mill's Political Economy :* 

" The theory of dependence and protection is an idealization, Rrounded 
on the charlcter and conduct of here and there an uulividual. All 

de^pisin-^ and not in lovingly caring for th^^e who were in their est 
mation dp-radpd by being under the necessity of working for their 
benefit: f do no't affirm that what has always been always must be, 

* Principles of Political Economy, II., 325. 



290 A JOUKNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

or that human improvement has no tendency to correct the intensely 
selfish feehngs engendered by power ; but though tlie evil may be les- 
sened, it cannot be eradicated until the power itself is withdrawn. This, 
at least, seems to me undeniable, that long before the superior classes 
could be suflSciently improved to govern in the tutelary manner supposed, 
the inferior classes would be too much improved to be governed." 

This, written with no reference to Slavery, is, in my experi- 
ence, the lesson taught at all points by Slavery, to-day, in our 
nation. 



CHAPTER yill. 

SLAYERY EXTENSION; SOUTHERN COMMERCE AND COTTON 
SUPPLY; PRESENT CONDITION AND CHARACTER OF THE 
CITIZENS OF THE SOUTH; THE CAUSES AND THE REM- 
EDY. 

To observe the condition and character of the citizens, was 
my principal object while traveling in the slave States; to con- 
tribute toward a study of the practical workings of the system of 
which their condition and character must be the truest expo- 
nent is the principal object of these volumes. That system, 
while it rests on slavery, is not simply slavery, but is slavery of 
the peculiar kind which exists alone in our republic, including es- 
pecially the various laws, habits and political and social customs 
which are designed to secure its inviolability and perpetuity, and 
by which any modification, improvement or different arrange- 
ment, is resisted. American slavery is not merely a system for 
the subjection and government, under individual masters, of a cer- 
tain number of slaves. It is, for instance, a system of coloniza- 
tion as well. 

Most of the citizens of the slave States appear to believe that 
the continuance of slavery depends upon the continual and rapid 
territorial dispersion of the slave-holding community. Whether 
they are right or not, such a movement is at present a distin- 
guishing and essential fact of American slavery. If an Ameri- 
can slave-holding community could be other than a very loosely 

13* 



292 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

organized community, American slavery would be, in that com- 
munity, a difterent thing from what it is now everywhere found 
to be. In Virginia itself, an essentially frontier condition of 
society prevails to this day. Beasts and birds of prey, forests 
and marshes are increasing ; bridges, schools, churches and 
shops diminishing in number, where slavery has existed longest. 
The habits of the people correspond. 

There are various other circumstances at present peculiar and 
essential to the system of American slavery, which might be 
changed, and yet slavery remain, but such slavery would not be 
the system which is now discussed, nor would its effects be the 
same. When speaking of the slavery of our slave States, then, I 
mean not slavery simply, but all those habits, customs and laws, 
which at present invariably accompany, and are peculiarly con- 
nected with the slave system as it at present exists in our own 
country. 

The slave States are vast territorially. There are, independ- 
ently of slavery, important circumstances acting in their differ- 
ent parts, hence a study of the condition of the people must be 
an extended and tedious one, nor can facts or phenomena in suf- 
ficient number to enable the reader to form an estimate for him- 
self, of the effects which it is right to ascribe simply to slavery 
and the customs, habits and laws, which at present belong to 
the slave system, be given otherwise than in a long and circum- 
stantial narrative. 

In previous volumes, the grand divisions of old settlement and 
of receilt settlement, have been separately considered. In the pre- 
sent volume, my experience and observations with regard to two 
distinct divisions have been narrated. The first, a region which, 
independently of slavery, is unquestionably able to yield a larger 



THE CAUSES AND THE REMEDY. 293 

money value for agricultural labor than any other in the world, 
it being the favored soil, in the favored climate, with the cheap- 
est natural fiieilities of transportation to a market, of that pro- 
duction, for which there is the most urgent commercial demand ; 
the second, widely different, being distant from markets, with no 
peculiar agricultural productions, and offering but small rewards 
for agricultural labor. 

In the latter, the mountainous region, the people are poor, 
and there are but few slaves. It is true that nearly all have 
either themselves been educated in the slave-holding districts, or 
are the direct descendants, and but one or two generations 
removed from persons so educated ; but slavery at present 
exercises scarcely any direct efiect upon them. Whether in 
consequence of this exemption or not, they differ noticeably in 
character, customs and habits from the people of the slave- 
holding districts. Their own impression that the absence or 
scarcity of slaves is the cause of this difference, and that this is a 
matter of congratulation, was expressed to me every day while I 
was among them, nor was any doubt of it even once intimated 
to me. Compared with the slaveholders, these people are more 
cheerful, more amiable, more sociable, and more liberal. Com- 
pared with tlic non-slaveholders of the slave-holding districts, 
they are also more hopeful, more ambitious, more intelligent, 
more provident, and more comfortable. Their general poverty 
can not be thouo-ht to result from the absence of slaves. Rather 
it is the small reward for labor which agriculture in the moun- 
tains offers, and their consequent inability to accumulate capital, 
wliich prevents them from possessing slaves. Such difference as 
is most obvious and general between them and the people of the 
mountain regions in the free States may be confidently attrib- 



294 A JOUENEY IJT THE BACK COUNTRY 

uted to their distance from markets (including markets of in- 
telligence) and the consequent want of variety in their occu- 
pation. 

The distinguishing clement of the condition of the other 
region considered in this volume, is the extraordinary value 
which attaches to labor within it, in consequence of the peculiar 
favorableness of the soil and climate for the production of 
cotton. 

It is quite plain, notwithstanding all the drawbacks attending 
the employment of forced labor, and notwithstanding the high 
price of slaves, that slave labor is employed profitably by the 
large planters in Mississippi, and in certain other parts of the 
South, in the culture of cotton. That the profit, in this case, is 
not only large compared with the profit of slave labor employed 
elsewhere, and in other occupations, but that it is moderately 
good, at least, compared with the profit of other investments of 
capital and enterprise at the North and in Europe, must also be 
admitted. There are few enterprises to which capital lends itself 
more freely than to speculation in slaves, when the seeker for it 
is already a large cotton planter. 

Is slave labor, then, profitable ? 

To certain individuals, unquestionably. 

Nor do I think myself warranted in denying that the produc- 
tion of cotton per acre on many Mississippi plantations may not 
be as large as it can be economically made with land as low and 
slaves as high in price as is at present the case. 

Is not then this slave agriculture economically conducted? 

To the ends had in view by the planter it certainly is. 

I answer thus distinctly, because assertions to the same effect 
have been addressed to me, evidently with the supposition that 



THE CAUSES AND THE EEMEDY. 295 

they invalidated the arg'ument on the economy of Virginia, and 
of other parts of my first volume. That argument was intended 
to lead to the conclusions that the cost of such labor as is usually 
performed by slaves in Virginia, is more than double, in that 
State, what it is in New York. That in consequence of this 
excessive cost of labor, the profits of agriculture are much less 
than they would be if free trade in the commodity of labor could 
be established. That it is a consequence also of this high cost 
of labor that enterprise and capital avoid Virginia, especially 
avoid agriculture in Virginia, and that, as might therefore be 
supposed, agriculture in Virginia is a wretchedly conducted busi- 
ness, and among the agricultural class, niggardness, surliness and 
bigoted ignorance much more prevail than among the farmers 
of the free States. In short, that slavery, by unnecessarily adding 
to the cost of making natural wealth, or the resources of the 
country, available, and by causing a wasteful use of natural wealth, 
has the effect of impoverishing and degrading Virginia. 

The diff"erence between A^irginia and Mississippi is mainly 
found in the fact that in the latter State cotton grows luxuriantly 
and matures perfectly. The demand for cotton is such, and the 
soil on which it can be grown is so limited, that wherever it can 
be produced with facility a given investment in land, tools and 
labor will be much better rewarded than a similar investment 
can be rewarded in any agricultural enterprise in Virginia. 
AVhat is true with reo-ard to Virginia, I believe to be true with 
regard to Mississippi, with only this difference, that in Mississippi 
there is one description of natural w^ealth available with so little 
labor (having regard to its value in the world) that even with the 
disadvantages of slavery, capital appears for a time to be well in- 
vested in developing it, hence agriculture; that is to say, cotton 



296 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

culture, in Mississippi attract capital, enterprise and skill, as com 
culture would in Virginia if the value of corn bore the same re- 
lation to the cost of the labor employed in its production. 

The cost of labor merely, is as much increased by slavery in 
Mississippi as it is in Virginia; the cost of production, the barrier 
to wealth, is as much more than it needs to be in Mississippi as it 
is in Virginia. The necessary loss appears to me to be larger in 
Mississippi, indeed. Substitute a free trade of labor in Mississippi 
for the present system, and I suppose that you will have, as you 
would in Virginia, a fourfold value of land, a fourfold economy. 

I repeat : Slave labor is to-day undoubtedly profitable to certain 
owners of slaves in Mississippi. 

It was undoubtedly profitable to roll tobacco in casks one 
hundred miles to market, at one time, in Virginia. 

It would probably be profitable in Illinois to reap wheat with 
sickles, and thrash it v/ith flails, and market it by wagons, if there 
were no horse reaping machines and horse thrashing machines, 
and steam locomotive machines, engaged in supplying the de- 
mand for wheat, but there is many hundredfold the wealth in 
Illinois to-day that there would have been had sickles, flails and 
wagon trains been held to there with the same bigotry as is 
slavery in Mississippi ; and if it could be made certain that ten 
years hence the present labor system of Mississippi would be 
superseded by the free labor system, I have little doubt that 
twenty years hence the wealth of Mississippi would be at least 
tenfold what, under the present system, it is likely to be, and the 
whole country and the whole world be some degrees happier than 
it is now likely to be. 

But this is conjectural. What is the actual condition of the 
people of Mississippi to-day ? 



THE CAUSES AND THE REMEDY. 2 9*7 

In Mississippi (and in the rich lowland cotton regions gener- 
ally of the slave States) the social phenomena are found most 
satisfactory in districts wherein a fixed community has for many 
years been established, and the fertility of the soil not yet largely 
exhausted. Evidences of wealth, of education, religion and re- 
finement Avill never be wanting among the citizens of such a 
district, nor evidences of a bantling civilization and of a certain 
degree of rude comfort among the other part of the people. 
Among the citizens there may, indeed, be but few indigent or un- 
instructed ; possibly on several square miles not one such family 
will be resident. At no great distance, however, there may, I 
believe, invariably be found some tract of sterile or less fertile 
land, a large majority of the inhabitants of which are extremely 
poor and ignorant whites, stupidly contented, helpless and hope- 
less in their ignorance and poverty. 

I have on my desk, as I write, and I wTite only after seeing 
how fully the judgment to which I am compelled from my own 
scrutiny of the ground is confirmed by it, evidence published by 
many partisans of the extension of slavery enough to half fill this 
volimie, of which, to corroborate the sweeping assertion just made, 
I need give here but a single example : 

" I am not aware that the relative number of these two classes has 
ever been ascertained in any of the States, but I am satisfied that the 
non-slaveholdei"S far outnumber the slaveholders, perhaps by three to 
one.* In the more southern portion of this region [^ the south-west,' 
of which Mississippi is the center], the non-slaveholders possess generally 
but very small means, and the land which they possess is almost univer- 
sally poor, and so sterile that a scanty subsistence is all that can be de- 
rived from its cultivation, and the more fertile soil, being in the hands 
of the slaveholder, must ever remain out of the power of those who 

* It was not long since estimated in the Legislature of Kentucky as seven 
to one in that State. 



298 A JOURNEY IX THE BACK COUNTEY. 

have none. * * * ^q(J j lament to say that I have observed of 
late years that an evident deterioration is taking place in this part of 
the population, the younger portion of it being less educated, less in- 
dustrious, and, in every point of view, less respectable than tlieir an- 
cestors."* 

And, for the present, I ask that what is said by this writer of the 
material condition of two thirds of the whole population of his own 
quarter, which, in its natural resources, is the very richest region 
at this moment in the known world, may be assumed to be true 
of the majority of the people of the South, as, I believe, no in- 
genuous southern gentleman will deny that it is. 

Is their condition the result of poverty caused merely by a 
poor return for labor which is yielded by such a soil ? I say that 
it is not, because I know that the occupants of similar soils at the 
North are far superior to them in nearly every quality, habit 
and attainment which civilized men respect and value. Is their 
condition the result of climate ? The conviction in my mind 
that it is not, has been formed from innumerable personal obser- 
vations and some personal experience. The recent German set- 
tlers in Texas and in South Carolina, the whites on steamboats 
and railroads and in trade, the white workmen in New Orleans, 
as well as thousands of exceptional, hardworking and successful 
laboring Southerners testify that the climate is no preventive of 
persevering toil by the white race in any part of the slave States. 
I have, in fact, seen more white native American women at work 
in the hottest sunshine in a single month, and that near mid- 
summer, in Mississippi and Alabama than in all my life in the 
free States, not on account of an emergency, as in harvesting, 
either, but in the regular cultivation of cotton and of corn, 
chiefly of cotton. 

* De Bow's Eesources of the South and West, vol. ii., p. 106. 



THE, CAUSES AND THE REMEDY. 299 

Further evdclence leading to the same conclusion, I find in the 
fact, that men born, nurtured and trained in the South show no lack 
of strength or endurance when engaged in athletic exercise which 
is immediately gratifying to their ambition, passions, or their 
tastes. The climate prohibits no sort of labor, except such as 
w^ould be generally productive of wealth, to the white man of the 
South."* How is this to be explained ? 

In part, at least, thus, is it not ? (I ask, and I hope the reader 
will not neglect to answer according as he is well persuaded.) 
All mankind have an intuitive respect for strength or power. 
Slavery is the most palpable evidence of weakness or the invol- 
tary subjection of strength in the slave. That is the meaning 
of slavery. The condition of a slave, therefore, as compared 
with that of a man independent of another's will, so far as that 
condition of him is alone concerned, is universally regarded 
with the absence of respect, with something of contempt or 
pity. Whatever is associated with the slave as having been 
peculiarly attached to his condition is regarded with a certain 
degree of similar feeling. Manual agricultural labor is the chief 
employment of slaves in the South. For manual agricultural 
labor, therefore, the free man looking on, has a contempt, and 
for its necessity in himself, if such necessity exists, a pity quite 
beyond that of the man under w^hose observation it has been free 
from such an association of ideas. 

Slaves are not wholly confined to agricultural labor, it is true, 
but it is equally true that in proportion as they are engaged in other 

* See the evidence of Mr. Darby and others, p. 586 and onward, Seaboard 
Slave States. See also pp. 182, 187, 279, 281. 358, 359 and 360, Texas Jour- 
ney. Additional testimony on this point from southern experts may be found 
further on. 



300 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

employments are the whites who are also engaged in these em- 
ployments found to be generally indolent, careless, untrustworthy 
and unsuccessful. That such persons are conscious of the degra- 
dation which attaches to the employment of slaves is manifested 
in the fierce hostility of white mechanics to the instruction of 
slaves in their crafts, for this opposition is not at all relative or 
proportionate to the effect of such use of slaves in reducing their 
wages. It is not the mere competition of slaves in the market 
which throws white men out of it. If it were, labor contracts 
could be made at a lower rate in the slave than in the adjoining 
free States, whereas the contrary is the case * " The poor white 
man," Mr. De Bow tells us, " will endure the evils of pinching 

* Of course I do not refer to contracts for the time of laborers or work- 
men, which, owing to their indolence and unskillfulness, are frequently lower 
for whites at the South than at the North. So few southerners hesitate to 
admit this effect of slavery, and it has been so forcibly set forth by Jefferson 
and most other statesmen of the South, that it may seem supererogatory to 
argue its existence or importance. I observe, however, that of late not a few 
Democratic journalists of the North have shown a disposition to discredit it, 
and nearly all to make light of it. A friend of Senator Douglas, for instance, 
said recently in the "Mattoon G-azette:" 

" We are one of those that utterly discredit the idea that the presence of 
slaves works an injury to the whites. * * * We candidly and firmly 
believe to-day that if Illinois were a slave State the best men of Kentucky, 
Virginia, Tennessee, and even States further South, would be here as soon 
as tliey could remove their families, and the prairies of Illinois would be 
made to smile as a lovely garden. "We have seen the best class of men come 
to our State, admire it with enthusiasm, but return to their homes because 
they could not bring their whole famihes with them." 

Judge Nichols, of Kentucky, whose opportunity of observation was proba- 
bly better than tliis gentleman's, and whose character and position entitle his 
views to particular respect, said, in a speech in 1837 : "The deliberate con- 
victions of my most matured consideration are, that the institution of slavery 
is a most serious injury to the habits, manners and morals of our white popu- 
lation; that it leads to sloth, indolence, dissipation and vice." 



THE CAUSES AND THE KEMEDY. 301 

poverty rather than engage in servile labor;"* and the white 
woman would, " however humble in the scale of society, consider 
such services a decree of deo-radation to which she could not con- 
descend, and she has, therefore, no resource but to suffer the pangs 
of want and wretchedness." And J. H. Taylor, Esq., of Charles- 
ton, in defending an effort to employ whites in manufactories in 
South Carolina against the charge that it might tend to injure 
the value of slaves, says : 

" The poor man has a vote as well as the rich man, and in our State 
the number of the former will largely overbalance the laiter. So long 
as these poor but industrious people could see no mode of living ex- 
cept by a degrading operation of work with the negro upon the plan- 
tation, they were content to endure life in its most discouraging forms, 
satisfied they were above the slave, thouofh farino: often worse than 
he."t ... 

Many writers attempt, in my opinion, to attach an entirely 
undeserved "honor to labor." Mere plodding manual labor is 
not in itself honorable. Dexterity, ingenuity in the application of 
labor, industry and perseverance are honorable traits in all men, 
but labor in itself is not honorable. On the other hand, in no 
enlightened free community is labor in itself practically degrad- 
ing, because hireling labor is everywhere the stepping-stone from 
povert}^ and mediocrity to comfort and a position of usefulness. 
But in the South the step has become, if w^e are to believe Mr. 
De Bow, (as quoted above,) a degradation which the poorest 
white considers more grievous than the " pangs of want and 
wretchedness." 

It is sometimes said that this feeling of degradation only ex- 
ists when the free laborer works in the same gang or the same 

* Resources of the South, vol. i., p. 241. 
f De Bow's Review, January, 1850. 



302 A JOUKNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

field witli slaves, or that at furthest it extends only to hired la- 
borers working under the direction of their employers, that it 
does not lesson the industry of men working on their own ac- 
count. The observation above quoted from Mr. De Bow may 
be intended to be so restricted. In view of notorious facts, of 
which many have been already cited in this work from other 
and equally respectable advocates of the slave social system the 
reader may judge how far this theory is philosophically probable. 
I will only say here that I have seen nothing in the South to 
lead me to entertain it. 

Not that I have seen no industrious white men at the South, 
I have seen many, and seen them side by side with slaves. 
There are incentives to industry acting counter to this influ- 
ence of slavery, which in certain situations can not fail to be in 
some degree effective, for there is probably no country in the 
world where nature offers a better reward for intelligent labor 
than in some parts of the slave States. When, indeed, this is 
considered, the mere popular degradation of labor arising from 
its association with the idea of subjection and submission to the 
will of a master, does not seem adequate to account for the ac- 
tual excessive indolence, folly and poverty of the majority of the 
people of the South. Nor does it, for that would be a result of 
slavery simply, of any slavery. x\merican slavery, as at present 
advocated, American slavery, as it is desired to be perpetuated, 
nourished, protected and extended, has an influence far more 
cruel, more strenuously repressive upon the mass of free citizens 
than slavery elsewhere ever did ; than slavery in itself at all 
needs to have ; than, with all possible safety, with all reasonable 
profitableness to the owners of slaves, it is my judgment that it 
needs to have. 



THE CAUSES AND THE REMEDY. OtWi 

I hope that those who have read what I, as an eye-witness 
have described, in this and the preceeding vohimes, will have 
acquired, if they did not otherwise possess, some understanding 
of the manner in which slavery, as it is now maintained in our 
slave States, operates very generally to put a limit, and a very 
short limit upon the natural motives which should impel a free 
man to live industriously. No theoretic explanation can be 
sufficient, if the facts, the abundant facts, which no intelligent 
traveler who has really penetrated the South has failed to ac- 
quire, which no sincere patriot of the South attempts to disguise, 
are not strongly impressed upon the nnnd of the investigator. 

The accidental discovery of a palliative sometimes indicates 
unerringly the true nature of a disease and makes its remedy 
simple. I think that I always felt the poverty of the whites of 
the South, in the midst of so much inert wealth, to be somewhat 
m3'sterious ; I had no such prejudice against American slavery 
that I felt satisfied with it as the sole cause, until I caught 
sight of a fragment of the annual report of the president 
of a South Carolina manufacturing company. This presiding 
manufacturer is not a Massachusetts spinner, nor a New York 
merchant, but a well-known and a much and worthily respected 
citizen of Charleston, William II. Gregg, Esq. In his report, 
Mr. Gregg, in a manner characteristic of his class and his educa- 
tion, withdraws the attention of his directors as soon as prac- 
ticable from the mere commercial view of their enterprise, and 
shows its higher interest as a social experiment. I quote : 

" The population of Graniteville is made up mainly from the poor of 
Edgefield, Barnwell and Lexington districts." 

Before going further, it is well that it should be known that 



304 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTEY. 

the " poor" of tliese districts are by no means more destitute of ed- 
ucational and religious privileges tlian tlie poor men, on an average, 
within the planting regions. By reference to the census returns I 
find that they are provided with public schools at the rate of one 
to less than thirty square miles, while within the State of South 
Carolina, inclusive of its several towns, there is but one public 
school, on an average, to every forty square miles. There are 
churches within these districts, one to about seventeen square 
miles ; throughout the State, including Charleston and its other 
cities, one to every twenty-five square miles. In Georgia the av- 
erage is one to thirty-two square miles. AVith the condition of 
the newer cotton States, in these respects, that of Edgefield, 
Barnwell and Lexington would be found to compare still more 
favorably for the poor. In Lexington there is even a theological 
seminary. Nevertheless, even in these districts, there must have^ 
been not a little destitution and ignorance, for Mr. Gregg goes 
on congratulating the stockholders on what their enterprise has 
accomplished : 

''From extreme poverty and want, they have become a thrifty, 
happy, and contented people. When they were first brought to- 
gether, the seventy-nine out of a hundred grown girls who could nei- 
ther read nor write were a by- word around the country ; that re- 
proach has long since been removed. We have night, Sunday and 
week-day schools. Singing-masters, music-teachers, writing-masters, 
and itinerant lecturers all find patronage in Graniteville where the 
people can easily earn all the necessaries of life, and are in the enjoy- 
ment of the usual luxuries of country life." * * * 

" To get a steady supply of workmen, a population must be collected 
which will rega?'d themselves as a community, and two essential elements 
are necessary to the building up, moral growth and stability of such a 
collection of people, namely, a church and a school-house." * * * 

The truth of these views Mr. Gregg establishes by the failure 
of manufacturing enterprises at the South in which they have 



THE CAUSES AND THE REMEDY. 305 

been disregarded. From these failures the opinion has obtained 
that the poor whites were not available as laborers, and that in 
all industrial enterprises the capitalists would be obliged to em- 
ploy slave labor. Mr. Gregg combats this view energetically, 
and says : 

/ can safely say that it is only necessary to make comfortable liomes 
in order to procure families that itnll afford laborers of the best kind. A 
large manufacturing establishinent located anywhere in the State, away 
from, a town and in a healthy situation, luiU soon collect around it a 
popidaiion who, however poor, with proper moral restraijits thrown 
around them, tvill soon develop all the elements of good society. Self- 
respect and attachment to the place will soon find their way into the minds 
of such, while intelligence, morality, and well directed industry, will not 
fail to acquire position." 

To relieve the extreme poverty and want of the South it is 
necessary, according to the teaching of this report, to lead those 
who suifer "to regard themselves as a community," for this pur- 
pose the nuclei of "a church and a schoolhouse" are essential, 
to which will be added, as the work develops, such other stimu- 
lants as "singing and writing schools, itinerant lecturers," etc., etc. 
In short, the power of obtaining, as the result of their labor, "the 
necessaries of life," "the usual luxuries of country life," or, in 
two words, which cover and include church, school, music and 
lecture, as well as bread, cleanliness, luxuries and necessities, 
" comfortable homes." 

Mr. Gregg has here indicated, in my opinion, not only the 
truest test of a prosperous people, but the essential condition of 
prosperity with any people. The mass of men must have in 
their minds the idea and the hope of a comfortable home as a 
starting point of respectable industry ; must have secured some 
degree of home comfort as a condition of continued success in 
their industry. 



306 A JOUKNEY IN THE BACK COUNTEY. 

The present system of American slavery prevents the people 
at large from having " comfortable homes," in the sense intended 
by Mr. Gregg. For nine tenths of the citizens, comfortable homes, 
as the words would be understood by the mass of citizens of the 
North and of England, as well as by Mr. Gregg, are impossible, 
and are rendered impossible by the system of slavery. 
How ? 

I believe that all political economists agree in the opinion that 
either a varied industry within the limits of any given country 
or district must exist, or that it must enjoy a large export trade, to 
support a prosperous and happy people. The slave States would 
appear to be in the latter condition. Their export of cotton is 
of great value. It should make comfortable homes for their 
people. It does not, because their slavery system interposes to 
prevent the demand of commerce from having its legitimate 
effect upon the mass of the people. 

Examine almost any rural district of the South, study its his- 
tory, and it will be seen how it does so. 

Take, in the first instance, one of entirely rich soil. Suppose 
it to be of twenty square miles, with a population of six hundred* 
all told, and with an ordinarily convenient access by river navi- 
gation to market. The whole of the available cotton land in this 
case will probably be owned by three or four men, and on these 
men the demand of commerce will have had, let us suppose, its 
full effect. Their tillage land will be comparatively well culti- 
vated. Their houses will be comfortable, their furniture and 
their food luxurious. They will, moreover, not only have secured 
the best land on which to apply their labor, but the best brute 
force, the best tools, and the best machinery for ginning and 
pressing, all superintended by the best class of overseers. The 



THE CAUSES AND THE REMEDY. 307 

cotton of each will be shipped at the best season, perliaps all at 
once, on a boat or by trains expressly engaged at the lowest rates 
of freight. It will everywhere receive special attention and care, 
because it forms together a parcel of great value. The merchants 
will watch the markets closely to get the best prices for it, and 
wdien sold the cash returns to each proprietor will be enormously 
large. As the expense of raising and marketing cotton are in 
inverse ratio to the number of hands employed, planters nearly 
always immediately reinvest their surplus funds in slaves ; and as 
there is a sufficient number of large capitalists engaged in cotton- 
growing to make a strong competition for the limited number 
of slaves which the breeding States can supph^, it is evident that 
the price of a slave will always be as high as the product of his 
labor, under the best management, on the most valuable land, 
and with every economical advantage which money can procure, 
will warrant. 

But suppose that there are in the district besides these three or 
four large planters, their families and their slaves, a certain num- 
ber, say twenty white families, who do not own slaves. The fact 
of their being non-slaveholders is evidence that they are as yet 
without capital. In this case one of two tendencies must soon 
be developed. Either being stimulated by the high price of 
cotton they will grow* industrious, will accumulate capital and 
purchase slaves, and owning slaves will require a larger amount 
of land upon which to work them than they require for their 
own labor alone, thus being led to buy out one of the other plan- 
ters, or to move elsewhere themselves before they have acquired 
an established improvement of character from their prosperity; 
or, secondly, they will not purchase slaves, but either expend cur- 
rently for their own comfort, or hoard the results of their labor. 

14 



308 A JOUENEY IN THE BACK COUNTKY. 

If they lionrd they will acquire no increase of comfort or ini- 
provement of character on account of the demand. If they 
fepend all their earnings, these will not be sufficient, however 
profitable their cotton culture may be supposed, to purchase 
luxuries much superior to those furnished to the slaves of the 
planters, because the local demand, being limited to some fifty 
white families, old and young, in the whole district of twenty 
square miles, is not enough to draw luxuries to the neighbor- 
hood, unless they are brought by special order, and at great ex- 
pense from the nearest shipping port. Nor is it possible for so 
small a number of whites to maintain a church or a newspaper, 
nor yet a school, unless it is one established by a planter, or two 
or three planters, and really of a private and very expensive 
character. 

Of course, this is a somewhat extreme case. As a general rule, 
accidents of settlement, divisions by inheritance, the resistance 
of moral or social to economical forces, or other irregular cir- 
cumstances, will modify in a m-eater or less decree what is never- 
theless the ruling tendency. 

Suppose, again, another district in which either the land is 
generally less productive or the market less easy of access than 
in the last, or that both is the case. The stimulus of the cot- 
ton demand is, of course, proportionately lessened. In this case, 
equally with the last, the richest soils, and those most conven- 
ient to the river or the railroad, if there happens to be much 
choice in this respect, will assuredly be possessed by the largest 
capitalists, that is, the largest slaveholders, who may nevertheless 
be men of but moderate wealth and limited information. If so, 
their standard of comfort will yet be low, and their demand will 
consequently take effect very slowly in increasing the means of 



THE CAUSES AND THE REMEDY. 309 

comfort, and rendering facilities for obtaining instruction more 
accessible to tlieir neighbors. But suppose, notwithstanding the 
disadvantages of the district in its distance from market, that 
their sales of cotton, the sole export of the district, are very 
profitable, and that the demand for cotton is constantly increas- 
ing, A similar condition with regard to the chief export of a 
free labor community would inevitably tend to foster the intelli- 
gence and industry of a large number of people. It has this 
effect with only a very limited number of the inhabitants of a 
plantation district consisting in large part as they must of slaves. 
These laborers may be driven to work harder, and may be fur- 
nished with better tools for the purpose of increasing the value 
of cotton Avhich is to be exchanged for the luxuries which the 
planter is learning to demand for himself, but it is for himself 
and for his family alone that these luxuries will be demanded. 
The wages — or means of demanding home comfort — of the work- 
men arc not at all influenced by the cotton demand, the effect, 
therefore, in enlarging and cheapening the local supply of the 
means of home comfort w^ill be almost inappreciable, while the 
impulse generated in the planter's mind is almost wholly directed 
toward increasing the cotton crop through the labor of his slaves 
alone. His demand upon the Avhites of the district is not mate- 
rially enlarged in any way. The slave population of the district 
will be increased in number, and its labor more energetically 
directed, and soon the planters will find the soil they possess 
growing less productive from their increasing drafts upon it. 
There is plenty of rich unoccupied land to be had for a dollar an 
acre a few hundred miles to the West, still it is no trifling matter 
to move all the stock, human, equine and bovine, and all the imple- 
ments and machinery of a large plantation. Hence, at the same time, 



810 A JOUENEY IN THE BACIv COUNTRY. 

perliaps, with an importation from Virginia of purchased slaves, 
there will be an active demand among the slaveholders for all the 
remaining land in the district on which cotton can be profitably 
grown. Then sooner or later, and with a rapidity proportionate 
to the effect of the cotton demand, the white population of the 
district divides, one part, consisting of a few slaveholders, obtains 
possession of all the valuable cotton laud, and monopolizes for a 
few white families all the advantages of the cotton demand. A 
second part removes with its slaves, if it possess any, from the 
district, while a third continues to occupy the sand hills, or 
sometimes perhaps takes possession of the exhausted land which 
has been vacated by the large planters, because they, with all 
their superior skill and advantages of capital, could not cultivate 
it longer with profit. 

This class, still ignorant of all luxury, having no higher aim 
than to procure the bare means of subsistence, is doomed to 
remain in a condition thus described in De Bow's Review by a 
writer " whose name," says the editor, " has long been illustrious 
for the services he has rendered the South :" 



"All of you must be aware of the condition of the class of people I 
allude to. What progress have they made in the last hundred years, 
and what is to be their future condition, unless some mode of employ- 
ment be devised to improve it ? A noble race of people ! reduced to 
a condition but little above the wild Indian of the forest, or the Euro- 
pean gipsy, without education, and, in many instances, unable to pro- 
cure the food necessary to develop the natural man. They seem to be 
the only class of people in our State who are not disposed to emigrate 
to other countries, while our wealthy and intelligent citizens are leav- 
ing us by scores, taking with them the treasures which have been ac- 
cumulated by mercantile thrift, as well as by the growth of cotton and 
the consequent exhaustion of the soil."* 



* Yol. xviii., p. "790. 



THE CAUSES AND THE REMEDY. 311 

The population of the district, then, will consist of the largo 
land owners and slave owners, who are now so few in number as 
to be unnoticeable either as producers or consumers; of their 
slaves, who are producers but not consumers (to any important 
extent), and of this forlorn hope of poor whites, who are, in 
the eyes of the commercial w^orld, neither producers nor con- 
sumers.* 

To set forth their condition more clearly than I have done in the 
quotations from southern writers already given in this chapter, is 
possible only by obtaining the actual statistics of population and 
trade of a district the soil of which is in great part naturally un- 
productive, or which has become so through the process I have 
described. This is difficult, owiiig not only to the neglect of all 
the slave States to obtain statistics of the character now gener- 
ally required by the legislatures of the free States as a basis of 
legislative judgment, but owing to the difficulty of finding a 
region in which the elements of fertility correspond at all closely 
with the political divisions under which all extant statistics nre 
classified. It would perhaps be desired that I chose for this 
purpose the counties referred to by Mr. Gregg, but the meagre 
returns of the Xational Census appear to be peculiarly untrust- 
worthy with regard to South Carolina, and I prefer to take cor- 

* Mr. J*Iills' remarks on the condition of India apply, vvitli very sliglit 
changes, to portions of the slave States: "The implements and processes of 
agriculture are, however, so wretched that the produce of tlie soil, in s\)lte 
of its great natural fertility, and a climate highly favorable to vegetation, is 
miserably small ; and the land might be made to yield food in abundance for 
many more than the present number of inhabitants, without departing from 
the system of small holdings. But to this the stimulus is wanting, which a 
large town population would afford. That town population again does not 
grow up because the feto ivants and unaspiring spirit of the cultivators pre- 
vent them from attempting to become consumers of town produced 



312 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

responding counties in Georgia, chiefly because there is a volume 
of statistics compiled in this State, a special section of which is 
devoted to the condition of trade in each of its counties, while a 
comparison is also attempted to be given, from the personal ob- 
servation of the compiler, of the comparative social, moral and 
religious properties of their people. Thus, so far as the plan has 
been thoroughly executed, an estimate is presented, not only of 
the ordinary commercial demand of the citizens, but, so to speak, 
of the state of their intellectual and moral market. I refer to 
" White's Statistics of Georgia," a largo octavo volume of 
Too pages. 

The compiler's standard of manners and morals is a local one, 
and the northern reader must not understand his language in all 
cases as he would if it were used by a northern writer, but taken 
relatively to one another, the terms by which the pe*^' le in the 
different counties are characterized afford signilieant indications 
of their condition. 

The counties referred to by Mr. Gregg are in the second tier 
from the sea in South Carolina. I shall give statistics from Mr. 
White, and other authorities named in the note*, with regai'd to 
all the second tier counties of Georgia. What of good soil to 
be brought into cultivation, without a heavy expenditure at start- 
ing, there w^as originally in these counties begun to be first oc- 

* The population, following Mr. White, is given in round numbers, from the 
State census of 1845 ; average personal estate, per family of citizens, reck- 
oned from an ofBcial return, published in the "Soil of the South" (Columbus, 
Georgia, 1852, p. 210), the amount given for each county being divided by 
one fifth the number of its population (for families). Observations on edu- 
cation and the character of the people, from White's Statistics of Georgia 
(generally in quotations). School, library and church statistics, in figures, 
from official United States Census, 1850. 



THE CAUSES AND THE KEJrEDY. 313 

cnpied by whites about 1740. It was not till nearly twenty 
years after this that slavery obtained the slightest footing in 
them, and it was not till ab.nit thirty years ago that they had 
begun to seriously deteriorate in production. There is yet some 
rich land upon the alluvial bottoms of the numerous rivers, wliich, 
rising above, pass through these counties toward the ocean ; and 
here many wealthy planters still remain, owning a large number 
of slaves, and there has been recently a considerable increase of 
production of some parts owing to the employment of capital in 
draining marshes, the riches of wdiicli have previously been con- 
sidered impregnable.^' In general, however, this wdiolc range of 
country is now quite barren, and most of the land at present cul- 
tivated will not probably yield one third as large a crop for the 
same expenditure of labor as would fair Mississippi cotton land. 
The slaves formerly owned here have therefore been very largely 
transferred westward, and the land they have worn out is left for 
the non-slaveholding whites to make the best of. 

As an instructive contrast, I place in an adjoining column with 
the statistics of these counties those of the counties which bound 
each of them on the east. In these there is a much larger pro- 
portion of rich alluvial soil, and they contain the famous "sea 
island" cotton plantations, as well as the Georgian rice planta- 
tions. The valuable soil is still entirely possessed, as will be evi- 

* The presence of these few planters, with their valuable human property, 
makes the average nominal wealth of each white famil^y, at first sight, appear 
large. If, however, the slaves had been appraised at only $500 each, wliicli 
would be low, they would alone amount in value in some counties to the 
sum assigned for the whole personal property of the citizenr. This item is not, 
therefore, trustworthy, but, in comparing the coast and second tier counties, 
it serves to show the great difference in the average wealth of the citizens of 
each. A similar division of personal estate, as officially returned for the city 
of New York, would give $4,660 to eacli family. 



314 



A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 



dent, by large planters and slave owners, the usual monopolizing 
effect of slavery being in this instance increased by the peculiar 
local insalubrity of the coast. 



SECOND TIER COUNTIES. 

Bulloch County. (The Central 
Railroad, the best conducted road 
in all the South, passes either 
through this county or close be- 
side its northern boundary, for a 
distance of fifty miles. It is 
watered by the Ogeechee and 
Conuauchee and a number of 
smaller rivers. On the larger 
rivers there is yet a considerable 
amount of productive land.) 

Population. Whites, 2,000 ; 
slaves, 1,000. Average amount 
of property to each white family, 
$1,570. State tax for each white 
family, $2 95. 

Mr. White omits his usual sta- 
tistics of trade. Both in this and 
the adjoining coast county of 
Bryan, the poor people, as well as 
the planters, are in the habit of 
dealing directly with Savannah, 
as described in Seaboard Slave 
States, p. 414, and there are prob- 
ably no estabhshed tradesmen in 
either. 

The soil is described by Mr. 
White as generally poor, with 
some productive "hummock" and 
river tracts. 



Education. " No newspapers 
are taken, and few books read. 
The school fund was once suffi- 
cient to educate many poor chil- 
dren, but owing to bad manage- 
ment it has become exhausted." 



COAST COUNTIES. 



Bryan County, adjoining Bul- 
lock county, on the coast. 



Population. Whites, 1,000 ; 
slaves, 2,400. Average amount 
of property to each white family, 
$5,302, (fourfold what it is in Bul- 
lock county.) State tax to each 
white family, $7. 

No statistics of trade, again. 



Soil. " The soil, under the 
present system of culture, can 
not, without rest and manure, be 
made to produce more than one 
half as much as when new." This 
appears to refer particularly to the 
rice plantations. 

Education. There is no acad- 
emy, and there are no schools, ex- 
cept those supported by the " Poor 
School Fund," (a State provision 
for the children of indigent par- 
ents.) " The children of the 



THE CAUSES AND THE REISIEDY. 



315 



SECOND TIER COUNTIES. 



COAST COUNTIES. 



Thus says Mr. White. The census 
returns show, however, a pubhc 
school expenditure of $150 per 
annum, and a private expenditure 
of $3,000, divided among fifteen 
schools, which is one for eighty 
square miles. This is so much 
better than usual, that, with Mr. 
"White's remarks, I am inclined to 
think it an error. 



Character of the people. " By 
industry and economy, they man- 
age to supply their wants, which, 
however, are few. Many rely a 
great deal on game. * * * As 
far as temperance is concerned, 
they are behind the times. Whis- 
key has its votaries. Those who 
have attempted to show the citi- 
zens the folly and ill consequences 
of intemperance have been in- 
sulted and threatened. Even min- 
isters of our holy religion have 
publicly denounced the motives 
and efforts of those who have at- 
tempted to form temperancce so- 
cieties." 

Religion. '' The most numerous 
[sects] are the Anti-Missionary 
[hard shell?] Baptists." Ten church 
edifices; average value, $145. No 
Sunday school or other pubUc libra- 
ries. 

14* 



wealthy are either educated by 
private teachers or sent to school 
in the more favored portions of 
the country ; [the vicinity of 
Savannah, where there is a cele- 
brated and well endowed acad- 
emy, and of Liberty, where there 
are others, accounts for this ;] 
the population is too sparse to 
furnish pupils enough to sustain a 
regular school," (large tracts of 
land being held by the planters, 
though wholly unproductive, to 
prevent the settlement of poor 
whites near their negroes, as one 
in this county informed me.) 
According to the census returns, 
there were eight schools (one to 
twenty-five square miles) of ah 
kinds, with an average of twelve 
pupils each. Total expenditure 
for each school, $38 per annum. 

Character of the people. No 
remarks. 



Religion. The county contains 
eleven church edifices ; avei'age 
value, $500. No Sunday school 
or other public libraries. 



316 



A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 



SECOND TIER COUNTIES. 



COAST COUNTIES. 



TatnaJl County. 

Population. Whites, 2^000 ; 
slaves, 600. Average amount of 
property to each white family, 
$901. 



Capital invested in trade, 
$4,200. 

Soil. " Light and sandy, except 
on the streams, which is stiff." 



Education. " Education is neg- 
lected." Eight public schools, 
(1 to 148 square miles,) with six- 
teen pupils each. Annual cost of 
maintenance of each school, $150. 
No other schools ; no iSunday 
school or other libraries. 



Qharacler of the people. " So- 
ber, industrious and hospitable," 
(phrases applied to every county 
not specially noted as conspicuous 
for some vice or virtue of its in- 
habitants.) 

Religion. Sixteen church edi- 
fices, valued at $938 each. Ac- 
cording to Mr. White, however, 



Liberty Comity. 

Population. Whites, 2,000 ; 
slaves, 6,000. Average amount 
of property to each white family, 
$6,330. 

State tax to each white family, 
$10. 

Capital invested in trade, 
$3,850. 

Soil. " The practice has been 
to wear out the virgin soils, and 
clear new lands. ^ * * Much 
waste land." 

Education. '^ Excellent schools 
are found. * * * And it is 
beheved that a greater number of 
young men from Liberty county 
graduate from our colleges than 
from any other section of G-eorgia." 
There are five " academies," with 
an average of nineteen pupils each. 
Five public schools, (1 to 160 
square miles,) maintained at an 
average expenditure of $15.40 per 
annum each. Ko libraries found 
in the census canvass of 1849. Mr. 
White states that the Med way 
and Newport Library Society had, 
in 1845, "about seven hundred 
volumes, in a very bad state of 
preservation." This library was 
established by some New England 
immigrants before the prohibition 
of slavery was annulled in the 
province. The early settlers of 
the county were chiefly from 
Massachusetts. 

Character of the people. " Gen- 
erally upright and virtuous, and 
they are unsin-passed for the great 
attention paid to the duties of re- 
ligion." 

Religion. Ten church edifices j 
average value, $1,200. 



THE CAUSES AND THE REMEDY. 



317 



SECOND TIER COUNTIES. 



COAST COUNTIES. 



there are '" about thirty churches" 
in the county. 

Wayne County. 

PopidaUoii. Whites, 930 ; 
slaves, 350. Average amount of 
property for each white family, 
$898. 

State tax, $1 23. 

Capital invested in trade, 
$4,200. 

Soil. ^' G-enerally poor, barren 
pine land ; when manured, will 
produce about twenty bushels of 
corn per acre." 

Education. ^ ^' Few schools ;" 
two academies, (one Baptist, and 
the other Methodist, probably,) 
with thirteen pupils between 
them. Four public schools, (1 to 
148 square miles,) averaging ten 
pupils each ; expense of main- 
tenance not returned. 



Character of the people. " High 
for morality and hospitality ;" 
'^ poor, but honest" xit the seat 
of justice " are many beautiful 
pine hills, affording delightful 
summer residences to the wealthy 
planters of Glynn." (hence the 
academical advantages.) 

Religion. Eight church edi- 
fices; average value, $240, 



Ware County. (About one fifth 
of this county is occupied by the 
Okefenokee Swamp.) 

Population. Whites, 2,000 ; 
slaves, 300. Average amount of 
personal property for each white 
family, $480. 



Mcintosh County, broadest on 
the sea. 

Population. Whites, 1,300 ; 
slaves, 4,400. Average aniount 
of property for each white family, 
$7,287, or eight times as much as 
in Wayne. 

State tax, $2 77. 

Capital invested in trnde, 
$1,200. 

Soil. Poor turpentine pine 
land in the rear ; on the Alta- 
maha, "of inexhaustible fer- 
tility." 

Education. One academy, with 
thirty-eight scholars ; four public 
schools, twelve and a half miles 
apart, averaging twenty pupils 
each. Expense of maintaining 
each school, $78 per annum. " The 
wealthier classes are highly edu- 
cated ; but, generally, little inter- 
est is felt in the subject of educa- 
tion." 

Character of the people. " Like 
all parts of lower Georgia, the 
citizens of Mcintosh are generally 
intelligent and hospitable." 



Religion. Twelve church edi- 
fices; average value, $1,041. 

Camden County. Much the 
largest part of this county, which 
is L shaped, with but one arm on 
the sea, is inland, and unfertile. 

Population. Whites, 3,000 ; 
slaves, 4,000. Average amount of 
personal pr(){)erty for each white 
family, $4,428. 



318 



A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 



SECOND TIER COUNTIES. 

State tax, $4 05. 
Stock in trade, $2,200. 



Soil; "light and tolerably pro- 
ductive." 

Education. '■'• Very little inter- 
est is taken in the subject of edu- 
tion." No academies ; six public 
schools, (1 to 485 square miles,) 
sixteen pupils each. Wages of 
teachers, etc., yearly, $41 each 
school. No Sunday school or 
other libraries. 



Character of tlie people. " The 
citizens are said to be hardy, in- 
dustrious and honest." " Much 
good might be done by .the 
organization of temperances so- 
cieties." 

Religion. Fifteen church edi- 
fices, fourteen miles apart, each 
accommodating one hundred sit- 
ters, and valued at $56 each. 



COAST COUNTIES, 

State tax, $13. 

"Amount of business done at 
St. Mary's is about $30,000 per 
annum," nearly all in lumber, and 
done by New Englanders. No 
other trade statistics. 

Soil ; "of celebrated fertility." 

Education. No remarks on ed- 
ucation or character by Mr. White. 
Four public schools^ (1 to 280 
square miles,) with seventeen pu- 
pils each, maintained at an average 
expenditure of $290 per annum. 
Two academies, with forty-five 
pupils. Five Sunday school libra- 
ries, with one hundred and ten 
volumes each. 

Oharacter of ilw people. No 
remarks. 



Religion. Ten churches, (five 
of which are in the town of St. 
Mary's, a beautiful and healthy 
village, resorted to by consump- 
tives ;) average value, $850. 



I have purposely omitted Effingham county in the above arrange- 
ment, because the adjoining coast county of Chatham contains the city 
of Savannah, an aggregate agency of northern and foreign merchants, 
through which is effected the commercial exchanges of a great extent 
of back country, the population of which can therefore afford no indi- 
cation as to the point under consideration. Effingham, the county 
above Cliathara, and one of the second tier, is worthy of notice, from 
some other important exceptional features of its constitution. Owing 
to the amount of rich soil in the county, along the Savannah river, 
there is a larger proportion of slaves to the whole population than is 
usual in the second tier, their number being sixteen hundred against 
only eighteen hundred whites ; the non-slaveholders, however, appear 
to possess unusual privileges. There is an academy, with fifty pupils, 
which Mr. White describes as " a fine school." The public schools, 
eight in number, are less than eight miles apart, with an average at- 
tendance of sixteen pupils. Each school costs one hundred and twelve 



THE CAUSES AND THE REMEDY. 319 

dollars a yeai\ There are twenty-one churches, less than five miles 
apart, and valued at over twelve hundred dollars apiece. Mr. White 
says that honesty and industry are leading characteristics of the peo- 
ple, who. notwithstanding the poverty of the soil, are generally in com- 
fortable circumstances. 

The reason of this is partially the close vicinity of Savannah, afford- 
ing a cash market for a variety of productions and household manu- 
tures, among which, as distinguishing the county from any other in 
the State, are mentioned fruits, silk, fishing lines and cow-bells, " the 
latter," Mr. White is told, "superior to any manufactured in the North 
or in Europe." But an equally important reason for the better char- 
acter and condition of the people is to be found in the fact that a ma- 
jority of them* are descendants and heirs of the land of those very 
early settlers who most strenuously and to the last resisted the intro- 
duction of slaves into the colony, being convinced that, if permitted, it 
Avould, as they said in their memorials, "prove a scourge" to the poor 
people who were persuaded to petition for it.t It is most gratifying to 
perceive that all traces of the habits of industry, honesty and manly 
self-reliance, in wliich they thus educated their children, are not wholly 
lost in the lapse of a century. 

To recapitulate the more exact of these statistics : 

A large majority of the whole white population resides within 
the barren counties, of which the slave population is less than 
one fourteeuth that of the aggregate slave population of the 
whole. 

The personal estate of the vjhites of these upper counties is, on 
an a\erage, less than one sixth that of the others. 

As the wealthy are independent of public schools, the means 
of education are scarcely more available for those who are not 
rich' in one than the other, the school houses being, on an 
average, ten and a half miles apart in the less populous, thirteen 
and three quarters miles apart in the more populous. 

It is widely otherwise as to churches. In the planting counties, 
there is a house of worship for every twenty-nine white families ; 
in the poor white counties, one for everv one hundred and sixty- 

* White's Statistics, p. 224. 

f Hewitt, — ; Seaboard Slave States, p. 528. 



320 A JOURNEY IN TPIE BACK COUNTEY. 

two white families. Notwitlistanding the fact, that to accommo- 
date all, the latter should be six times as large, their avcrao-e 
value is less than one tenth that of the others; the one being 
eight hundred and ninety-eight dollars, the other eighty-nine 
dollars. So wholly do the planters, in whose hands is the 
wealth, depend on their factors for direct supplies from without, 
the capital invested in trade, in the coast counties, is but thirty- 
seven and a half cents to each inhabitant, and in the upper coun- 
ties it is but one dollar and fifty cents. From the remarks on 
temperance, it would seem that the most of this capital must be 
held in the form of whiskey. One " store" in Libej'ty county, 
which I myself entered, contained, so far as I could see, nothing 
but casks, demijohns, decanters, a bag of coffee, a ( ase of tobacco, 
and some powder and lead, and I believe that nine tenths of the 
stock in trade rcfei-red to in these statistics is of this character. 
It was mentioned to me by a gentleman who had examined this 
district with a commercial purpose, that, off' the plantations, there 
was no money in the country — almost literally, no money. The 
dealings even of the merchants or tradesmen seemed to be en- 
tirely by barter. He believed there were many full grown men 
who had never seen so much as a dollar in money in their lives. 
What inducement has capital in railroads or shops or books or 
tools to move into districts like this, or wdiich are to become dike 
this ? Why, rather, I shall be asked, does it not withdraw more 
completely? Why do not all, who are able, remove from a region 
so desolate ? Why was not its impoverishment more complete, 
more simultaneous ? How is it that any slaveholders yet remain ? 
Mr. Ptuffin, president of the Virginia State Agricultural Society, 

Address before the South Carohna Institute. 



THE CAUSES AND THE KEMEDY. 321 

'' The causes are not all in action at once, and in equal progress. 
The labors of exhausting culture, also, are necessarily suspended as 
each of the cultivators' fields is successively worn out. And when 
tillage so ceases, and any space is thus left at rest, nature immediately 
goes to work to recruit and replace as much as possible of the wasted 
fertility, until another destroyer, after many years, shall return, again 
to waste, and in much shorter time than before, the smaller stock of 
fertility so renewed. Thus the whole territory, so scourged, is not de- 
stroyed at one operation. But though these changes and partial re- 
coveries are continually, to some extent, counteracting the labors for 
destruction, still the latter work is in general progress. It may re(|uire, 
(as it did in my native region,) more than two hundred 3'ears, from the 
first settlement, to reach the lowest degradation. But that final result 
is not the less certainly to be produced by the continued action of the 
causes." 

As to the extent to which the process is carried, Mr. Gregg 
says :* 

" I think it would be within bounds to assume that the planting capi- 
tal withdrawn Avithin that period [the last twenty-five years] would, 
judiciously applied, have drained every acre of swamp land in South 
Carolina, besides resuscitating the old, worn out land, and doubling 
the crops — thus more than quadrupling the productive power of the 
agriculture of the State." 

It would be consoling to hope that this planters' capital in the 
new region to which it is driven were used to better results. 
Does the average condition of the people of Mississippi and 
Texas justify such a hope ? When we consider the form in which 
this capital exists, and the change in the mode of its investment 
which is accomplished when it is transferred from South Carolinn, 
we perceive why it does not. 

If wc are told that the value of one hundred thousand dollars 
has been recently transferred from Massachusetts to a certain 
young township of Illinois, we reasonably infer that the people 
of this township will be considerably benefited thereby. We 

* Fifth Annual Report to Directors of Graniteville Company. 



322 



A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 



think wliat ail excellent saw mill and grist mill, what an assort- 
ment of wares, what a good inn, what a good school, what fine 
breeding stock, what excellent seeds and fruit trees, what superior 
machinery and implements, they will be able to obtain there now, 
and we know that some of these or other sources of profit, con- 
venience and comfort to a neighborhood, are almost certain to 
exist in all capital so transferred. In the capital transferred from 
South Carolina, there is no such virtue-none of consequence. 
In a hundred thousand dollars of it there will not be found a 
single mill, nor a wagon load of " store goods;" it will hardly in- 
troduce to the neighborhood whither it goes a single improve- 
ment, convenience or comfort. At least ninety thousand dollars 
of it will consist in slaves, and if their owners go with them 
it is hard to see in what respect their real home comfort is 
greater. 

We must admit, it is true, that they are generally better satis- 
fied, else this transfer would not be so unremitting as it is. The 
motive is the same at the North as at the South, the prospect of 
a better interest from the capital, and if this did not exist it would 
not be transferred. Let us suppose that, at starting, the ends of ' 
the capitalist are obtained equally in both cases, that a sale of 
produce is made, bringing in cash twenty thousand dollars; sup- 
pose that five thousand dollars of this is used in each case for the 
home comfort of the owners, and that as much immediate com- 
fort is attainable with it in the one case as in the other. What, 
then, is done with the fifteen thousand dollars? At the South' 
it goes to pay for a further transfer of slaves purchased in the 
East, a trifle also for new tools. At the North, nearly all of it 
will go to improvement of machinery of some kind, machinery 
of transfer or trade, if not of manufacture, to the improvement 



THE CAUSES AND THE REMEDY. 323 

of the productive value of whatever the original capital had been 
invested in, much of it to the remuneration of talent; which is 
thus enabled to be employed for the benefit of many people 
other than these capitalists — for the home comfort of many peo- 
ple. If five thousand dollars purchased no more comfort in the 
one case than the other, at starting, in a few years it will purchase 
double as much. For the fifteen thousand dollars which has gone 
East in the one case to pay for more labor, will, in the other, 
have procured good roads and cheap transportation of comforts, 
or shops and machinery, and thus the cheap manufacture of com- 
forts on the spot "where they are demanded. But they who sell 
the reinforcement of slaves, and to whom comes the fifteen thou- 
sand dollars, do they have no increase of home comfort ? Taking 
into consideration the gradual destruction of all the elements of 
home comfort which the rearing and holding of those slaves has 
occasioned in the district from which they are sold, it may be 
doubtful if, in the end, they do. AVhither, then, does this capital 
go ? The money comes to the country from those who buy cot- 
ton, and somebody 'must have a benefit of it. Who? Every one 
at the South says, when you ;isk this, it is the northern merchant, 
who, in the end, gets it into his own hands, and it is only him 
and his whom it benefits. Mr. Gregg apparently believes this. 
He says, after the sentence last quoted from him, describing the 
transfer of capital to the West from South Carolina : 

" But this is not all. Let us look for a moment at the course of 
tilings among our mercantile classes. We shall not have to go much 
further back than twenty-five years to count up twenty-five millions 
of capital accumulated in Cliarleston, and which has left us with its 
entciprising owners, who have principally located in northern cities. 
This sum would build factories enough to spin and weave every pound 
of cotton made in the State, besides making railroads to intersect 
every portion of the up-country, giving business facilities to the re- 
motest points." 



324 A JOUKXEY IX THE BACK COUNTRY. 

How comes this capita], the return made by the world for the 
cotton of the South, to be so largely in the hands of northern 
men? The true answer is, that what these get is simply their fair 
commercial remuneration for the trouble of transporting cotlon, 
transporting money, transporting the total amount of home com- 
fort, little as it is, which the South gets for its cotton, from one 
part of the country to the other, (chieliy cotton to the coast, and 
goods returned instead of money from the coast to the planta- 
tions.) Is this service over paid ? If so, why do not the plan- 
ters transfer capital and energy to it from the plantations ? It is 
not so. Dispersed and costly labor makes the cost of trade or 
transfer enormous, (as it does the cost of cotton producing.) It 
is only when this wealth is transferrred to the free States or to 
Europe that it gives great results to human comfort. The 
South, as a whole, has at present no advantage from cotton, 
even planters but little. The chief result of the demand for 
it, as far as they are concerned, is to give a fictitious value to 
slaves. 

Throughout the Southwest I found men, who either told me 
themselves or of whom it was said by others, that they settled 
where I found them, ten or fifteen years ago, with scarcely any 
property beyond half a dozen negroes, who were then indeed 
heavily in debt, but who were now quite rich men, having from 
twenty to fifty negroes. Nor is this at all surprising, when it is 
considered that cotton costs nothing but labor, the value of the 
land, however rich, being too inconsiderable to be taken into ac- 
count, and that the price of cotton lias doubled in ten years. But 
in what else beside negroes were these rich men belter off" than 
when they called themselves poor? Their real comfort, unless 
in the sense of security against extreme want, or immunity from 



THE CAUSES AND THE REMEDY. 325 

the necessity of personal labor to sustain life, could scarcely liave 
been increased in the least. There was, at any rate, the same 
bacon and corn, the same slough of a wagon channel througli 
the forest, the same bare walls in their dwellings, the same ab- 
sence of taste and art and literature, the same distance from 
schools and churches and educated advisers, and — on account of 
the distance of tolerable mechanics, and the difficulty of moving 
without destruction, through such a rough country, anything 
elaborate or finely finished — the same make-shift furniture. There 
were, to be sure, plows and hoes, and gins and presses, and there 
were scores of very "likely negroes." Whoever sold such of 
these neoToes as had been bouo-ht must have been the richer, it 
will be said. But let us see : 

A large proportion of the negroes were probably bought by 
traders at forced sales in the older States, sales forced by mer- 
chants who had supplied the previous owners of the negroes, and 
who had given them credit, not on account of the productive value 
of their property as then situated, but in view of its cash value 
for sale, that is, of the value which it would realize when applied 
to cotton on the new soils of the Southwest, 

The planters of the Southwest are then, in fact, supplying the 
deficit of eastern production, taking their pay almost entirely in 
negroes. The free West fills the deficit of the free eastern 
cereal production, but takes its pay in the manufactured goods, 
the fish, the oil, the butter and the importations of the free 
East. 

Virginia planters owning twejity to forty slaves, and nominally 
worth as many thousand dollai'S, often seem to live generously, 
but, according to northern standards, I do not think that they 
possess at all equal comforts and advantages for a rationally 



326 A JOUENEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

liappy life, Avith the average of northern farmers of half that 
wealth. If they do, they are either supplying slaves for the new 
cotton fields or living on credit — credit based on an anticipation 
of supplying that market. 

Of course, it can not be maintained that no one, while living 
at the South, is actually richer from the eflfects of the cotton de- 
mand. There are a great many very wealthy men at the South, 
and of planters, as well as land dealers, negro dealers and gen- 
eral merchants, but, except in or near those towns which are, 
practically, colonies of free labor, having constant direct com- 
munication and intimate relationship with free countries, the 
wealth of these more fortunate people secures to them but a 
small proportion of the advantages which belong to the same 
nominal wealth anywhere in the free States, while their number 
is so small that they must be held of no account at all in esti- 
mating the condition of the people, when it is compared wnth the 
number of those who are exceedingly destitute, and at whose ex- 
pense, quite as much as at the expense of their slaves, the wealth 
of the richer class has been accumulated. 

This can not be rightly deemed extravagant or unjust lan- 
guage. I should not use it if I did not feel satisfied that it was 
warranted, not only by my own personal observations, but by the 
testimony of persons whose regard for the pride of the South, 
whose sympathy with wealthy planters, and whose disposition 
not to underrate the good results of slavery, if not more sincere 
than mine, is more certain not to be doubted. I quote, for in- 
stance, a single passage from the. observations of Mr. Russell, an 
English gentleman, who, traveling with a special view of study- 
ing the agricultural condition and prospects of the country, was, 
nevertheless, so much limited in time that he was obliged to 



THE CAUSES AND THE REMEDY. 327 

trust, in a great degree, to the observations of planters for his 
facts. 

" In traveling through a fertile district in any of the southern States, 
the appearance of things forms a great contrast to that in similar dis- 
tricts in the free States. During two days' sail on the Alabama river 
from Mobile to Montgomery, I did not see so many houses standing 
together in any one spot as could be dignified with the appellation of 
village :* but I may possibly have passed* some at night. There were 
manj^ j^iaces where cotton was shipped and provisions were landed, 
still there were no signs of enterprise to indicate that we were in tlie 
heart of a rich cotton region. * * * 'fhe planters supply them- 
selves directly through agents in the large towns, and comparatively 
little of the money drawn for the cotton crop is spent in the southern 
States. Many of the planters spend their incomes by traveling with 
their families in the northern States or in Europe during the summer, 
and a large sum is required to pay the hog-raiser in Ohio, the mule- 
breeder in Kentucky, and, above all, the northern capitalists who have 
vast sums of money on mortgage over the estates. Dr. Cloud, the edi- 
tor of the Cotton Plant, [Alabama,] assured me that after all these items 
are paid out of the money received for the whole cotton crop and sugar 
crops of the South, there did not remain one fourth part of it to be 
spent in the southern States. Hence, the slave States soon attain a 
comparatively stationary condition, and, further, the progress they make 
is in proportion to the increase of freemen, whose labor is rendered 
comparatively unproductive, seeing that the most fertile land is occupied 
by slaveholders."! 



I questioned the agent of a large land speculation in Mississippi 
with regard to the success of small farmers. In reply he made 
the following statement, allowing me to take notes of it. I quote 
from these in order to show that what is true of the Atlantic shore 
and of the banks of the Alabama is also true of more western 
and interior districts. 



* Mr. Kussell uses the language of England. There are several collections 
of houses on this river bank, the inhabitants of which would consider it 
an insult if they should hear such an humble term as "village" applied to 
their pseudo towns and cities. 

f North America; Its Agriculture and Climate, p. 290. 



328 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

" The majority of our purchasers have been men without capital 
To such we usually sell one hundred and sixty acres of land, at from 
two to three dollars an acre, the agreement being to pay in one, two 
and three years, with six per cent, interest. It is very rare that the 
payments are made when due, and much the largest proportion of this 
class fail even to pay their interest punctually. Many fail altogether, 
and quit their farms in about ten years. When crops are generally 
good, and planters, in the same neighborhood make seven bales to a hand, 
poor people will not make over two bales, with their whole famil}'. 

There is , in — county, for instance. We sold him 

one hundred and sixty acres of land in 1843. He has a family ©f good 
sized boys — young men now. For ten years he was never able to pay 
his interest. He sold from two to four bales a year, but he did not get 
much for it, and after taking out the cost of bagging and rope, and 
ginning and pressing, he scarcely ever had two hundred dollars a year 
coming to him, of which he had to pay his store bills, chiefly for coffee 
and molasses, sometimes a httle clothing — some years none at all. They 
made then- own cloth mostly in the house, but bought sheeting some- 
times. He has made one payment on the principal, from a sale of hogs. 
Almost the only poor people who have kept up to their agreement 

have been some near , since the cotton factory was started there. 

It is wonderful what a difference that has made, though it's but a pica- 
yune affair. People who have no negroes in this country generally 
raise corn enough to bread them througli the year, and have hogs 
enough ranging in the swamps to supply them with bacon. They do 
not often buy anything except coffee and molasses and tobacco. They 
are not generally drunkards, but the men will spend all the money they 
may have, and get gloriously drunk once or twice a year, at elections 
or at court time, when they go to the county town. I think that two 
bales of cotton a year is as much as is generally made by people who 
do not own negroes. They are doing well if they net over fifty dollars 
a year from their labor, besides supplying themselves with corn. A 
real smart man, who tends his crop well, and who knows how it ought 
to be managed, can make five bales, almost always. Five bales are 
worth two hundred and fifty dollars, but it's very rare that a white 
man makes that. They have not got the right kind of tools, and they 
don't know how. Their crops are never half tended. If folks geneially 
tended their crops as some do, there would be more than twice as much 
cotton raised as there is." 



With regard to the enlargement of estates by successful plan- 
ters, liaving stated what were my impressions, the same sjentle- 
man replied that I was entirely I'ight, and gave an instance, as fol- 
lows, from his personal knowledge : 



THE CAUSES AXD THE REMEDY. 329 

" J. B. moved into county within my recollection. He has 

boug-ht out, one after another, and mainly since 1850, more than 
twenty small land owners, some of them small slaveholders, and they 
have moved away from the vicinity. I do not know how many ne- 
groes he has now, but several hundred, certainly. His surplus must 
have averag-ed twenty thousand dollars a year for several years, and, 
as fiir as I know, the whole is expended in purchasing negroes or land. 
He spends no money for anything else in the county, I am sure. It is 
a common thing to hear a man say, 'J. B. has bought up next to me, 
and I shall have to quit soon.' He never gets the land alongside of a 
man that ^vithin two years he does not buy him out. In the last ten 
years I know of but one exception, and that is a man who has shot 
two of B.'s niggers who were stealing his corn. This man swears he 
wont sell at any price, and that he will shoot any of J. B.'s niggers whom 
he catches coming on his place. B.'s niggers are afraid of him, aiid let 
him alone. J. B. will pay more for land than its worth to anybody 
else, and his negroes are such thieves that nobody can live in comfort 
on any place adjoining one of his. There are two other men in the 
county who are constantly buying up the land around there. The 
white population of the county is diminishing, and the trade of the 
place [the county town] is not as good as it was ten years ago." 

I am not nt liberty to give the name of the above quoted ob- 
server. I will state, however, that he was a southerner born, 
and if his narration needs authentication with any reader, I refer 
to the Hon. C. C. Clay, whose observations, (given at p. 57G, 
Seaboard Slave States,) will be found to confirm it in all essential 
particulars, especially in those describing the absorption of small 
landed properties in large slave estates. 

The following description of the social construction of the 
western cotton districts I find among tlie selected matter of a 
country newspaper. The antlior is unknown to me, but it is ap- 
parent from the context that he writes from personal observation. 
I quote it, not so much for the additional testimony it offers as for 
the clearer statement it affords of the tendency I have asserted to 
exist throughout the rich cotton districts. 

" The cotton-growing portion of the valley of the Mississippi, the very 
garden of the Union, is year by year being wrested from the hands of 



330 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY 

the small farmer and delivered over to the great capitalists. The white 
yeoman, the class which has contributed more of the blood and devo- 
tion, and good sense and enterprise which have made this country 
what it is than any other, are either forced into the sandy pine-hills or 
are driven West to clear and prepare the soil for the army of negroes 
and negro-drivers which forever presses on their heels, to make their in- 
dustry unprofitable, and their life intolerable. 

" All the great cotton lands Avere first opened up by industrious set- 
tlers, with small means and much energy. No sooner is their clearing 
made, and their homestead growing into comfort, than the great plan- 
ter co|nes up from the East, with his black horde, settles down on the 
district, and absorbs and overruns everything. This is precisely the 
process which is going on, day by day, over the greater portion of 
Louisiana and Mississippi. The small farmers, that is to say, the mass 
of the white population, are fast disappearing. The rich bottom lands 
of that glorious valley are being concentrated in the hands of large 
planters, with from one hundred to one thousand negroes. The average 
number of negroes and average quantity of land belonging to single 
proprietors is yearly increasing. The wealthier the proprietor himself, 
the less does he reside on his property, and the more disposed is he to 
commit it to the care of overseers. In some counties in Mississippi the 
negroes are twenty times more numerous than the citizens. Whole 
districts are solely peopled by black ' merchandise,' and some half dozen 
white drovers. The real ' people' are thus not only deprived of the 
patrimony which our abolition of the laws of entail and primogeniture 
was specially intended to secure them ; are not only driven off the fair- 
est portions of the soil, like the Scotch Highlanders and the Irish peas- 
antry, but literature and rehgion are fast disappearing in that portion 
of this continent on which Providence seems to have intended them to 
flourish most." 



THE DIFFICULTY OF POPULAR EDUCATION. 

The last sentence, it will be observed, only confirms the opin- 
ion quoted from the Superintendent of the Census, at p. 298, an 
opinion which I have not ventured to express as my own. 

In the Seaboard Slave States, I declared the impracticability 
of Mr. Wise's redeeming certain promises he was, when that 
book was written, freely making to the people of Virginia with re- 
gard to the education of the poor whites, unless he was prepared 
to adopt the emancipation system of Mr. Jefferson with regard to 
the blacks. I quoted, in evidence of this impracticability, from 



THE DIFFICULTY OF POPULAR EDUCATION. 331 

the county reports printed in the General Report of the year to 
the Governor with regard to the working of the then existino- 
educational system of the State. Mr. Wise was elected on those 
promises. He has occupied the gubernatorial chair four years, 
and I now take from the report made to Governor Wise himself, 
November, 1859, extracts of the same kind then given, for several 
of the considerable slaveholding counties. They are from the re- 
marks of the local commissioners or the superintendents having 
charge of the expenditure for the education of the indigent. 
Comparatively few make any report at all, especially in the slave- 
holding counties — not nearly as many as in 1852. I copy all 
reports with regard to the large slave counties in full, and some 
instructive notes from counties containing but few slaves. These 
are chiefly in the mountain region, and show the influence of the 
advantages possessed everywhere by the mountain people, as de- 
scribed in the beginning of this chapter, over those living imme- 
diately adjoining plantations, yet the eflfect upon them of State 
laws adapted to the necessities of slaveholders is obvious. 

BEDFORD. 

Whites, 13,536; slaves, 10,061. 

" The superintendent states that the benefits of the fund have been 
extended to a larger number of children than in previous years, but that 
much remains yet to be done to give to the system the efficiency of 
wiiich it is capable; that his observation leads him to believe that a 
large number of the teachers employed are miserably incompetent, and 
perhaps better qualified for some other vocation than that of directing 
the education of the young, and that some other plan ought to be 
adopted for the examination of teachers as to their competency 
before they are employed." 

BRUNSWICK. 

Whites, 4,885; slaves, 8,456. 

"The superintendent regrets that he can not present in his annual 
account a full view of the school operations for the year. He has re- 

15 



fi32 A .lOLTRNEY IN TIIK BACK COUNTRY. 



peatedly urged upon the commissioners the importance of requiring 
the teachers in their respective districts to render their accounts on or 
before the 30th of September, but the attainment of that desirable object 
has not as yet been effected. He can bear cheerful testimony to the 
capacity, competency and faithfulness of most of the teachers who are 
employed to instruct the indigent, and believes that the progress of the 
pupils is as satisfactory as could be expected under the existing circum- 
stances. 

" The present primary school system, whatever may be Its defects, 
has accomplished much good in this county. The benefits conferred 
thereby on many of the poorer classes of people are not only great 
but incalculable. The system may be amended ; but as long as south- 
ern society remains as at present constituted, and the white population 
of the State continues to be sparse, any system that may be devised for 
the education of the poor will in a great measure prove inefficient." 

CULPEPPER. 

"Whites, 5,112 ; slaves, 6,683. 

" The superintendent states that he has received no synopsis of re- 
ports of the commissioners, and he believes that they do not visit the 
schools very often. Consequently, he has no authority to notice their 
visits or their observations of the working of the system. The com- 
missioners, however, have promptly attended the meetings of the board, 
and examined accounts before payment. The superintendent (individ- 
ually) thinks the system far from being perfect, yet, for the amount ex- 
pended, it does perhaps as well as any other. To improve the system, 
would require an immense additional expenditure to agents, for which 
the State treasury is but little prepared at the present time." 

CUMBERLAND. 

Whites, 3,082; slaves, 6,339. 

" The commissioners report that they have found much difBculty in 
securing the attendance of the children at school; that many of the 
teachers are disinchned to take the indigent children, in consequence 
of the inadequacy of the compensation, and they recommend an in- 
crease of the maximum rate of compensation to ten cents a day." 

FAIRFAX. 

Whites, 6,835; slaves, 8,250. 

" The superintendent states, that in some of the districts the teachers 
refused to dismiss the children when notified of the exhaustion of the 
district apportionment. In other districts, the commissioners failed to 
notify the teachers of the insufficiency of funds to continue the chil- 
dren — which must operate a loss to the teachers, though a benefit to 
the children." 



THE DIFFICULTY OF POPULAR EDUCATION. 333 

FAYETTE. 

Whites, 3,780; slaves, 156. 

" The board report, that the appropriation from the treasury is in- 
sufficient to aid in the education of all that really stand in need of as- 
sistance from the fund. Those who are the most needy, and at the 
same time most punctual in their attendance, are the ones for whose 
benefit we endeavor to apply the funds." 

'' The superintendent, in his report to the board of school commis- 
sioners, says : " While I would recommend to the board the propriety 
of having all teachers who apply for schools examined as to their 
qualifications, I am aware that they are compelled to send to such 
teachers as are employed by the paying patrons of the school ; but 
really some plan ought to be adopted to prevent unqualified persons 
from teaching; for it is evident, if I be permitted to judge from the 
accounts presented for payment, that we have many teachers who 
would not be injured by taking a few lessons in penmanship and 
orthography themselves; but I am happy to say to the board that we 
have some teachers who are eminently qualified to teach. So far as I 
have been able to observe, there is certainly an increased interest mani- 
fested by parents and children on the sul:ject of education, and a visible 
amount of good has been accomplished under the present system. The 
shortness of the session is one of the greatest objections to the schools. 
I would, so far as my experience both as teacher and commissioner ex- 
tends, recommend a general system of free schools ; for while the county 
is large, and uporv first thought one tuould think sparsely settled, yet the 
people are generally settled in neighborhoods or settlements sufficiently large 
and compact to justify the system;" [a mountain county — observe the 
small proportion of slaves;] "and upon the adoption of such a system, 
I think it would be best for the first few years to teach about six 
months in the year, including the winter months ; and under proper re- 
strictions, I have no doubt but that it would be crowned with success." 

SPOTSyL\-ANIA. 

Whites, G,894; slaves, 7,481. 

" The board report that the appropriation from the treasury would 
not be sufficient, if all the indigent children were sent to school and 
attended regularly. Some of those entered attend regularly — others 
not at all. The fault lies in the parents and guardians." 

FRANKLIN. 

Whites, 11,638; slaves, 5,736. 

" The superintendent regrets to say that it is a difficult thing to get 
suitable persons to undertake to act as school commissioners, and 



334 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

the duties, when undertaken, are not attended to as they should be ; 
that if a small compensation were allowed, perhaps they would be ful- 
filled in a better manner." 

GLOUCESTER. 

Whites, 4,290; slaves, 5,887. 

'' The board report that the schools have been visited by some of the 
commissioners, and that many of the children have impi-oved very 
much. The teachers are generally qualified and attentive to their 
schools. The amount allowed and received for the school fund is en- 
tirely insufficient to send all the children entitled to the said fund to 
school. That they are pleased to say that they have no difficulty now 
as heretofore in getting the parents to send their children; hence the 
large number that attended school the past year." 

HANOVER. 

Whites, 6,539; slaves, 8,393. 

" The board report that they have unshaken confidence in the value 
of our school system, and would earnestly call upon the Legislature 
to do -all they can constitutionally to increase the fund for this 
purpose." 

" The superintendent reports : The important duty of visiting the 
districts, inspecting the schools, and making the proper returns to the 
superintendent, are almost entirely neglected ; and we believe, that 
partly in consequence of this neglect, the proper discrimination be- 
tween those children who are really proper objects of the State's 
bounty and those who are not, is lost sight of I have no hesita- 
tion in saying that the small amount of money laid out in our county 
schools does more good than the same amount expended in any other 
way, or in any other form of education. There are returns from 
thirty-four schools, and the teachers are generally believed to be com- 
petent." 

HENRY. 

Whites, 5,524; slaves, 3,340. 

" The superintendent states : It will be seen from the foregoing 
report of the board that there are several blanks which remain un- 
filled. These blanks can not be filled with any accuracy, as the com- 
missioners say, which is very true, that they got nothing for their 
services, and they do not intend to trouble themselves in getting such 
information as will enable us to fill the blanks in the report. We are, 
therefore, under the necessit}'" of forwarding a report which can not be 
considered complete." 

" I would fuither remark, that while the commissioners are some- 
what remiss in furnishing reports, I do not suppose the children of the 
county suffer any from that cause, as the teachers' accounts show that 



THE DIFFICULTY OF POPULAR EDUCATION. 335 

the commissioners all send to school fully to the amount allotted their 
respective districts ; so that the children of the county are getting the 
full benefit of the fund. The only difficulty is, that the fund is by no 
means sufficient to educate the indigent children of this county.' 

HENRICO, 

Whites, 23,826; slaA^es, 16,109. 

" The superintendent states that he takes pleasure in reporting the 
fact that the false pride which has in former years prevented many poor 
parents from sending their children to school, to be paid for by the State, 
has been broken down, and that at the present price allowed by the 
law, most of the teachers in the county are not only willing but anxious 
to teach the children — so that now the main obstacle in the way of more 
extended usefulness is the want of sufficient funds. He is of the opin- 
ion that nearly double the amount now appropriated might and could 
be judiciously expended by the board. He thinks the present system 
is working well, and knows it has and is doing good, and that he has 
no alteration to suggest except an increase of funds," 

ISLE OF WIGHT. 

Whites, 4,nO; slaves, 3,395. 

" The superintendent states that the average attendance of the chil- 
dren at school for the year appears to be only thirty-two and a quarter 
days, yet were the outstanding claims all paid, it would show quite a 
different state of things. Those accounts would exhibit an increase of 
the number of days, while the number of children would only be the 
same. He has on two or three occasions visited two of the three 
schools in his district, and was much pleased with the operations of 
those schools — the teachers being fully competent to the discharge of 
the important duties devolving on them. Had the funds been suffi- 
cient, nearly every child in the district could have attended school 
tlirough the year." 

LANCASTER. 

Whites, 1,802; slaves, 2,640. 

" The board report that, as a general thing, the schools of the county 
are of a higher grade than formerly, and few teachers will take pupils 
for the price (five cents per day) allowed by the school commissioners. 
The difference between their charge for tuition and the amount paid by 
the commissioners is therefore charged to the parents, guardians or other 
friends of the indigent children, A few very ordinary teachers may be 
found who will take pupils at the price allowed by law out of the funds 
of the State and county," 



336 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 



Whites, 9,062; slaves, 1,081. 

" The committee appointed to report the transactions of the school 
commissioners, state that the commissioners have done as much to 
promote the interest of the indigent children as was in their power, 
laboring as they do under many disadvantages." 

MONTGOMERY. 

"Whites, 6,822; slaves, 1,491. 

" The superintendent has for years complained of the incompetency 
of teachers, and he has to regret that the evil is growing rather than 
diminishing. The visiting of schools by the commissioners has become 
obsolete." 

NANSEMOND. 

Whites, 5,424; slaves, 4,715. 

" The commissioners have visited their schools during the year, and 
are satisfied with the qualifications of their teachers. The children 
make very fair improvement. Children from eight to eighteen years 
of age have been admitted to school, without regard to sex. The 
commissioners have not established any new schools, but have sent to 
those established in different neighborhoods by the people. They have 
authorized the superintendent to furnish books, paper, etc. The school 
quota for this county is not sufncient for the education of the indigent 
children by three or four thousand dollars, if they could be induced to 
attend school." 

NOTTOWAY. 

Whites, 2,234; slaves, 6,050. 

" The superintendent is under the necessity of reporting the great 
want of attention paid to the requirements of the law on the part of 
school commissioners. Having to make out his account and report 
almost entirely from teachers' accounts, he is unable consequently to 
say how many poor children there are in the county who do not attend 
school, but, from the best information he can get, thinks there are at 
least sixty or seventy." 

TUCKER. 

Whites, ; slaves, 

'^The board report that the insufficiency of the appropriation from the 
treasury precludes the education of all the poor children of the county, 
and it is only the most needy that can be sent to school." 



THE (QUESTION OF COTTON SUrPLY. 337 

WYTHE. 

Whites, 9,618; slaves, 2,185. 

" The board report that the funds are iusufficient to send all the poor 
children for the whole time; that their object has been to send all a 
greater or less time, proportioned to their means." 

WOOD. 

Whites, 9,008; slaves, 375. 

" The superintendent congratulates the board upon the advanced con- 
dition of the schools of the county generally." 

'' In reference to the general system of education, as pursued under 
the present arrangement of Yirgiuia, although it is liable to some- de- 
fects and objections, yet if properly and efficiently attended to and 
carried out by the commissioners, in selecting good and competent 
teache^rs, and in a just and equitable distribution of the funds for the 
education of the indigent children in all the neighborhoods of the 
county, it is the best that can be devised." 



THE QUESTION OF COTTON SUPPLY. 

Mr. Russell, altliougli lie clearly sees tlie calamity of the South, 
fully accepts the cotton planter's opinion, that, after all, the sys- 
tem of slavery is a necessary evil attending upon the great good 
of cheap cotton. He says : " If the climate had admitted of the 
growing of cotton on the banks of the Ohio, we should have seen 
that slavery possessed as great advantages over free labor in the 
raising of this crop as it does in that of tobacco." If this is so, 
it is important that it should be well understood why it is so as 
precisely as possible. 

In his Notes on Maryland, Mr. Russell (p. 141) says : " Though 
a slave may, under very favorable circumstances, cultivate twenty 
acres of wheat and twenty acres of Indian corn, he can not man- 
age more than two acres of tobacco. The cultivation of tobacco, 
therefore, admits of the concentration of labor, and thus the su- 



838 A JOUKNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

perintendence and management of a tobacco plantation will be 
more perfect and less expensive than a corn one." And tliis is 
the only explanation lie offers of the supposed advantage of slave 
labor in the cultivation of tobacco, (and of consequence in the 
cultivation of cotton.) The chief expense of raising corn is 
chargeable to planting and tillage, that of tobacco to the seed- 
bed, the transplanting and nursing of the young plants, (which is 
precisely similar to the same operation with cabbages,) the hand- 
weeding, the hoeing after the plant has " become too large to 
work without injuring the leaves by the swingle-trees of a horse 
plow ;"'^' "the topping," "the suckering," the selection and re- 
moval of valueless leaves, and " the worming," all of them, except 
hoeing, being operations which can be performed by children and 
child-bearing women, as they usually are in Virginia.f 

The chief expense of raising cotton, as of corn, is that of 
planting and tillage. The principal difference between the 
method of tillage of cotton and that of corn is occasioned by the 
greater luxuriance of weeds in the southern climate and the slow 
growth of the cotton plant in its early stages, which obliges the 
tillage process to be more carefully and more frequently performed. 
For this reason, the area of cotton cultivated by each laborer is less 
than of corn. The area of corn land to ahand is, however, very much 
over-estimated, in my opinion, by Mr. Russell. On the other hand, 
the only mention he makes of the area of cotton land to a hand 
(being the statement of a negro) would lead to the conclusion 
that it is often not over three acres, and that five acres is extra- 
ordinary. Mr. L)e Bow says,;J[ in an argument to prove that the 
average production per acre is over-estimated, "In the real cotton 
region, perhaps the average number of acres per hand is ten." 

* De Bow, vol. iii., p. 342. f Soe De Bow's "Ecsources," art. Tobacco. 
+ v-1 ; -. 17."). " Resources" 



THE QUESTION OF COTTON SUPPLY. 839 

Mr. Russell observes of worming and leafing tobacco : "These 
operations can be done as well, and consequently as cheaply, by 
women and children as by full grown men." (Page 142.) After 
reading Mr. Russell's views, I placed myself, through the kindness 
of Governor Chase, io communication v/ith the Ohio Board of 
Agriculture, from which I have obtained elaborate statistics, to- 
gether with reports on the subject from twelve presidents or sec- 
retaries of county agricultural societies, as well as from othei's. 
These gentlemen generally say that a certain amount of labor 
given to corn will be much better repaid than if given to tobacco. 
"Men are worth too much for growing corn to be employed in 
strolling through tobacco fields, looking for worms, and even 
women can, as our faimers think, find something better to do 
about the house." Children, too, are thought to be, and doubtless 
are, better employed at school in preparing themselves for more 
profitable duties, and this is probably the chief reason why coarse 
tobacco* can not be cultivated with as much profit as corn in 
Ohio, while the want of intelligent, self-interested labor, is the 
reason why the corn field, among the broad blades of which a 
man will work during much of its growth in comparative ob- 
scurity, can not be cultivated with as much profit on soils of the 
same quality in Virginia as in Ohio. In short, a class of laborevs, 

* In my Notes on Eastern Virginia, it was mentioned that a tobacco 
planter informed me that he could not raise the liner sorts of tobacco with 
profit, because ke could not make his slaves take pains enough with it ; and 
in certain localities in Ohio, having a favorable soil for the production of fine 
or high priced tobacco, it appears that free labor is engaged more profitably 
in the cultivation of tobacco than in the cultivation of corn. It is the same 
in parts of Connecticut and of Massachusetts. Except in these limited dis- 
tricts, however, it is found that the labor of Ohio, as of Connecticut and 
Massachusetts, is more profitably directed to the cultivation of corL '^•nai/e) 
and other crops than of tobacco. 

15* 



340 A JOUKXEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

wliich are good for notliing else, and wliicli but for this would be 
an intolerable burden upon those who are obliged to support them, 
can be put to some use in raising tobacco, and, therefore, coarse 
tobacco continues to be cultivated in some of the principal slave- 
holding counties of Virginia. But this class of laborers. is of no 
more value in cotton culture than in corn culture. Mr. De Bow 
says: "The Southwest, the great cotton region, is newly settled, 
and the number of children, out of all proportion, less than in 
negroes [regions ?] peopled by a natural growth of population.'* 
Weak women and weak children arc?, in fact, not at all in demand 
for cotton culture, the cotton planter's inquiry being only for 
'prime boys,' or 'A. 1. field hands.' " 

Thus, in every way, cotton culture, in my judgment, more re- 
sembles corn culture than it does tobacco culture. The produc- 
tion of corn is larger in the aggregate, is considerably larger per 
man engaged in its cultivation, and is hi- larger per acre in Ohio 
than in Yirginia.f I should, therefore, be inclined to reverse Mr. 

* "Eesources," p. 175. 

f Virginia, with 10,360,135 acres of improved land, produced, according 
to the last census returns, 

35,254,319 bushels of corn, 
56,803,227 pounds of tobacco. 
Ohio, with 9,851,493 acres of improved land, produced 
59,078,695 bushels of corn, 
10,454,449 pounds of tobacco. 
The aggregate value of these two products alone, at present New York 
prices, would be 

Ohio $5,127,223,565 

Virginia $3,564,639,385 

Actual crops per acre, on the average, as returned by the marshals for 
1849-50 (Census Compilation, p. 178): 

Corn. Tobacco. 

Ohio 36 bushels 730 pounds. 

Virginia 18 " 630 " 



THE QUESTION OF COTTON SUPPLY. 341 

PtUsseH's statement, and to say that if the climate had admitted 
of the growing of cotton on both banks of the Ohio, we should 
have seen that free labor possessed as great advantages over 
shivery in the cultivation of cotton as of corn. 

Mr. Russell echoes also the opinion, which every cotton planter 
is in the habit of urging, that the production of cotton would 
have been comparatively insignificant in the United States if it 
had not been for slave labor. He likewise restricts the true cot- 
ton region within much narrower limits than are usually given to 
it, and holds that the slave population must soon in a great meas- 
ure be concentrated within it. As these conclusions of a scien- 
tific traveler unintentionally support a view which has been lately 
systematically pressed upon manufacturers and merchants both in 
Great Britain and the free States, namely, that the perpetuation 
of slavery in its present form is necessary to the perpetuation of 
a liberal cotton supply, and also that the limit of production in the 
United States must be rapidly approaching, and consequently 
that the tendency of prices must be rapidly upw^ard, the grounds 
on which they rest should be carefully scrutinized, 

Mr. Rusgell says, in a paragraph succeeding the words just now 
quoted with regard to the supposed advantages of slave labor in 
raising tobacco : 

'• The rich upland soils of the cotton region afford a profitable invest- 
ment for capital, even when cultivated by slaves left to the care of over- 
seers. The natural increase of the slaves, ftoiu two to six per cent., 
iroes far to pay the interest of the money invested in them. The rich- 
est soils of the uplands are invariably occupied by the largest planta- 
tions, and the alluvial lands on the banks of the rivers are so unhealthy 
for white laborcu's that the slave owners occupy them without compe- 
tition. Thus the banks of the western rivers are now becoming the 
great cotton-producinjj^ districts. Taking these focts into consideration, 
it appears that the quantity of cotton which would have been raised 
without slave labor in the United States w^ould have been compai-atively 
insignificant to the present supply."* 

* North America, its Climate, etc., n. 286. 



342 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

The advantages of slave labor for cotton culture seem from 
this to have been predicated mainly upon the unwholesomeness 
to free or white laborers of the best cotton lands, especially of 
the alluvial lands on the banks of rivers. Reference is made par- 
ticularly to " the county of Washington, Mississippi State, [which] 
lies between the Yazoo and Mississippi rivers. * * * The 
soil is chiefly alluvial, though a considerable portion is swampy 
and liable to be flooded." 

Mr. Russell evidently considers that it is to this swampy con- 
dition, and to stagnant water left by floods, that the supposed in- 
salubrity of this region is to be chiefly attributed. How would 
he explain, then, the undoubted salubrity of the bottom lands in 
Louisiana, which are lower than those of the Mississippi, exposed 
to a more southern sun, more swampy, and which were origi- 
nally much more frequently flooded, but having been dyked and 
"leveed," are now inhabited by a white population of several 
hundred thousand. I will refer to the evidence of an expert : 

"Heat, moisture, animal aud vegetable matter, are said to be the ele- 
ments which produce the diseases of the South, and yet the testimony 
iu proof of the health of the banks of the lower portion of the Missis- 
sippi river is too strong to be doubted. Here is a perfectly flat alluvial 
country, covering several hundred miles, interspersed with interminable 
lakes, laguues and jungles, and still we are informed by Dr. Cartwright, 
one of the most acute observers of the day, that this country is exempt 
from miasmatic disorders, and is extremely healthy. His assertion has 
been confirmed to me by hundreds of witnesses, and we know, from 
our own observation, that the population presents a robust and healthy 
appearance." (Statistics are given to prove a greater average length of 
life for the white race in the South than in the North.) — Essay on the 
Value of Life in the South, by Dr. J. C. Nott, of Alabama. - 

The unacclimated whites on the sea coast and on the river 

and bayou banks of the low country, between which and the sea 

coast there is much inter-communication, suft^er greatly from cer- 

* Do Bow's "Resources." See "Seaboard Slave States," pp. 463 and 
586, for further gouthem e^ddenoe. 



THE QUESTION OF COTTON SUPPLY. 843 

tain epidemic, contagious and infectious pestilences. Tliis, how- 
ever, only renders the fact that dense settlements of whites have 
been firmly established upon them, and that they are remarkably 
exempt from miasmatic disease, one of more value in evidence of 
the practicability of white occupation of the upper bottom lands. 
There are strong grounds for doubting the common opinion that 
the negroes at the South sufier less from local causes of disease 
than whites. (See "Seaboard Slave States," p. 647.) They 
may be less subject to epidemic and infectious diseases, and yet 
be more liable to other fatal disorders than whites. The worst 
climate for unacclimated whites of any town in the United States 
is that of Charleston. (This, together with the whole of the rice 
coast, is clearly exceptional in respect to salubrity for whites.) 
It happens fortunately that the most trustworthy and complete 
vital statistics of the South are those of Charleston. Dr. Nott, 
commenting upon these, says that the average mortality, during 
six years, has been, of blacks alone, one in forty-four ; of whites, 
alone, one in fifty-eight. " This mortality," he adds, " is perhaps 
not an unfair test, as the population during the last six years has 
been undisturbed by emigration, and acclimated in greater pro- 
portion than at any previous period." If the comparison had 
been made between native negroes and native or acclimated 
whites alone, it would doubtless show the climate to be still more 
unfavorable to negroes.* 

* Dr. Barton, of New Orleans, in a paper read before the Academy of 
Science of tliat city, says: "The class of diseases most fatal in the South are 
mainly of a '■ irreverdible nature,' and embraces fevers and intestinal diseases, 
and depends mostly on conditions under the control of man, as drainage, the 
removal of forest growth — of personal exposure and private hygiene. The 
climate further north is too rigid the greater part of the year for personal 
exposure to the open air, so essential to the enjoyment of health, and when 
the extremes are great and rapid, another class of maladies predominate — 



344 A JOUENEY IN THE BACK COUNTEY. 

Upon the very district to which Mr. Russell refers, as offer- 
ing an extreme case, I quote the testimony of a Mississippi 

statistician : 

" The cotton planters, deserting the rolling land, are fast pouring in 
upon the ' swamp,' Indeed, the impression of the sickliness of the 
Soath generally has been rapidly losing ground, [i. e. among the whites 
of the South] lor some years back, and that blessing [health] is now 
sought with as much confidence on the swamp lands of the Yazoo and 
the Mississippi as among the hills and plains of Carolina and Virginia." — 
(Do Bow's "Resources," vol. ii., p. 43.) 

Dr. Barton says : 

" In another place I have shown that the direct temperature of the 
sun is not near so great in the South, (during the summer,) as it is at 
the North. I shall recur to this hereafter. In fact, the climate is much 
more endurable, all the year round, with our refreshing breezes, and 
particularly in some of the more elevated parts of it, or within one 
hundred miles of the coast, both in and out of doors, at the South 
than at the North, which show^s most conspicuously the folly of the 
annual summer migrations, to pursue an imaginary mildness of tem- 
perature, which is left at home." 

Mr. Russell assumes that slave hibor tends, as a matter of 
course, to the formation of large plantations, and that free labor 
can only be applied to agricultural operations of a limited scope. 
Of slaves, he says: "Their numbers admit of that organization 
and division of labor which renders slavery so serviceable in the cul- 
ture of cotton." I find no reason given for this assumption, except 
that he did not himself see any large agricultural enterprises con- 
ducted with free labor, while he did see many plantations of fifty 
to one hundred slave hands. The explanation, in my judgment, 
is that the cultivation of the crops generally gi-own in the free 
States has hitherto been most profitable when conducted on the 

the pulmonary, as well as others arising from crowding, defective ventilation 
and filth — exacting preventive measures from the public authorities with as 
much urgency as the worst fevers of the South." 



THE QUESTION OF COTTON SUPPLY. 345 

"small holding" system;* the cultivation of cotton is, as a gen- 
eral rule, more profitable upon the " large holding" system.f 
Undoubtedly there is a point below which it becomes disadvan- 
tageous to reduce the farm in the free States, and this varies with 
local circumstances. There is equally a limit beyond which it is 
acknowledged to be unprofitable to enlarge the body of slaves 
engaged in cotton cultivation under one head. If cotton were 
to be cultivated by free labor, it is probable that this number 
would be somewhat reduced. I have no doubt that the number 
of men on each plantation, in any case, would, on an average, 
much nearer approach that which would be most economical, in 
a free labor cotton growing country than in a country on which 
the whole dependence of each proprietor was on slaves. Is not 
this conclusion irresistible when we consider that the planter, if 
he needs an additional slave hand to those he possesses, even if 
temporarily, for harvesting his croj), must, in most cases, employ 
at least a thousand dollars of capital to obtain it ? 
Mr. Russell has himself observed that — 

" The quantity of cotton which can be produced on a [slave- worked] 
plantation is limited by the number of hands it can turn into the field 
during the picking or harvesting of the crop. Like some other agri- 
cultural operations, this is a simple one, though it does not admit of 
being done by machinery, as a certain amount of intelligence must 
direct the hand." 

The same is true of a wheat farm, except that much more can 
be done by machinery, and consequently the extraordinary de- 
mand for labor at the wheat harvest is much less than it is on a 

-^- Corn has been considered an exception, and there are prol^ably larger 
corn fields in Indiana tlian CMDtton fields in Mississippi. 

f I believe that plantations or agricultural operations devoted to a single 
crop are, as a general rule, profitable in proportion to their size in the free 
States, unless indeed the market is a small one and easily overstocked, which 
is never the case with the cotton market. 



346 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

cotton plantation. I have several times been on the Mississippi 
plantations during picking time, and have seen how every thing 
black, with hands, was then pressed into severe service ; but, after 
all, I have often seen negroes breaking down, in preparation for 
re-plowing the ground for the next crop, acres of cotton plants, 
upon which what appeared to me to be a tolerable crop of wool 
still hung, because it had been impossible to pick it. I have seen 
what was confesssed to be many hundred dollars' worth of cotton 
thus wasted on a single Red River plantation. I much doubt if 
the harvest demand of the principal cotton districts of Missis- 
sippi adds five per cent, to their field hand force. In Ohio, there 
is a far larger population ordinarily engaged in other pursuits 
which responds to the harvest demand. A temporary increase of 
the number of agricultural laborers thus occurs of not less than 
forty per cent, during the most critical period. 

An analogous case is that of the vintage in the wine districts 
of France. In some of these the " small holding" or parcellement 
system is carried to an unfortunate extreme under the influence 
of what are perhaps injudicious laws. The parcels of land are 
much smaller, on an average, than the smallest class of farms 
ordinarily cultivated by free labor in the United States. But can 
any one suppose that if the slave labor system, as it exists in the 
United States, prevailed in those districts, that is to say, if the 
proprietors depended solely on themselves, their families and their 
regular servants, as those of Mississippi must, at the picking time, 
there would not be a disastrous falling oft' in the commerce of those 
districts? Substitute the French system, unfortunate as in some 
respects it is, for the Mississippi system in cotton growing, and 
who will doubt that the commerce of the United States would be 
greatly increased ? 



THE QUESTION OF COTTON SUPPLY. 847 

Hop picking and cotton picking are very similar operations. 
The former is the more laborious, and requires the greater skill. 
What would the planters of Kent do if they had no one but 
their regular laborers to call upon at their harvest season ? As 
it is, the population in many parishes in Kent I suppose to be 
quadrupled in picking time. 

I observed this advantage of the free labor system exemplified 
in Western Texas, the cotton fields in the vicinity of the German 
village of New Braunfels having been picked, when I saw them, 
far closer than any I had before seen, in fact, perfectly clean, 
having been undoubtedly gleaned by the poor emigrants. I was 
told that some mechanics made more in a day, by going into the 
field of a slave owner and picking side by side with his slaves, 
being paid by measure, than they could earn at their regular 
work in a week. The degree of intelligence and of practice re- 
quired to pick to advantage was found to be very slight, less 
very much than in any single operation of wheat harvesters. 
One woman was pointed out to me who had, in the first year she 
had ever seen a cotton field, picked more cotton in a day than 
any slave in the county. 

I am reminded, as this page is about to be stereotyped, by ob- 
serving the letter of a cotton planter in the New Orleans Price 
Current, of auother disadvantage for cotton production, of slave 
labor, or rather of the system which slavery induces. In the 
Texas journey, I stated that I was informed by a merchant that 
the cotton picked by the free labor of the Germans was worth 
from one to two cents a pound more than that picked by slaves 
in the same township, by reason of its greater cleanliness. From 
the letter referred to, I make the following extracts : 



348 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

"Dear Sir: * * * There are probabl}^ no set of men engaged 
in any business of life who take as little pains and care to inform them- 
selves with regard to the character and quahty of their marketable 
produce as the cotton planter. Not one in a thousand knows, nor cares 
to know, whether the cotton he sends to market is ordinary, good 
ordinary, or middling. Not one in a hundreil spends one hour of each 
day at his gin in ginning season ; never sees the cotton after it is gath- 
ered, unless he happens to ride near the scaffold and looks from a dis- 
tance of a hundred yards, and declares the specimen very white and 
clean, when, perhaps, it, on the contrary, may be very leafy and 
dirty. * * * 

"I have often seen the hands on plantations picking cotton with 
sacks that would hardly hold stalks, they were so torn and full of holes; 
these sacks dragging on the ground and gathering up pounds of dirt at 
eveiy few steps. The baskets, too, were with scarcely any bottoms re- 
maining, having been literally worn out, the cotton lying on the ground. 
Indeed, some overseers do not forbid the hands emptying their cotton 
on the ground when their sacks are full, and they som(3 distance from 
tiieir baskets. When this cotton is taken up, some dirt must necessarily 
come with it. When gathering in wet weather, the hands get into 
their baskets with muddy feet, and thus toss in some pounds of dirt, 
in this way making their task easier. These things are never, or rarely, 
seen by the proprietor ; and, consequently, when his merchant writes 
him that his cotton is a little dusty, he says how can it be ? you are 
surely mistaken. 

" Now, sir, for all this there is one simple, plain remedy ; let the 
planter spend his time in ginning season at his gin; let liiiM see every 
load of cotton as it comes from the field and before it goes through the 
gin. But, says the man of leisure, the gin is a dirty, dusty place. Yes, 
sir, and always will be so, until you remedy the evil by staying there 
yourself. You say your overseer is hired to do this dirty work. Your 
overseer is after quantity^ sir, and the more extra tveight he gets in your 
cotton, the more bales he iviU have to brag of having made at the end of 
the year. Don't trust him at the gin. * * * 

"Probably he has a conditional contract wdth his employ oi': gets so 
many dollars for all he makes over a certain number of hales ; thus having 
every inducement to put up as much leaf and dirt, or, if he is one of the 
dishonest kind, he may add stones^ if they should abound in the neigh- 
borhood. 

" Why will not the cotton planter take pride in his own production? 
The merchant prides himself on his wares; the mechanic on the work 
of his hands. All seem to pride themselves on the result of their labor 
except the cotton planter." * * * 

It can not be admitted that the absence in the free States of 
that organization and division of labor in agriculture which is 
found on a large slave-worked plantation is a necessity attending 



THE QUESTION OF COTTON SUPPLY. 349 

tlie use of free labor. Why should it be any more impossible to 
employ an army of free laborei's in moving the ground with an 
agricultural design than with the intention of constructing a canal 
or a road, if it were profitable to so employ the necessary capital ? 
A railroad contractor in one of the best cotton districts of the 
United States told me, that liaving begun his work with negroes, 
he was substituting Irish and German laborers for them as rapidly 
as possible, with great advantage, (and this near midsummer.) 
But if I were convinced with Mr. Russell upon this point, I should 
still be inclined to think that the advantages which are possessed 
in a free labor state of society equally by the great hop planters 
at picking time and the petits proprietairea at vintage, which are 
also found in our own new States by the wheat farmer, and which 
are not found under the present system anywhere at the South, 
for cotton picking, would of themselves be sufficient to turn the 
scale in favor of the free labor cotton grower. 

The errors of the assumptions upon which the opinion is based 
by Mr. Russell, that slave labor is essential or important to sustain 
cotton production in the United States, is, I trust, apparent. The 
more common and popular opinion is, that the necessary labor of 
cotton tillage is too severe for white men in the cotton-growing 
climate. As I have said before, I do not find the slightest weight 
of fact to sustain this opinion. The necessary labor and causes 
of fatigue and vital exhaustion attending any part or all of the 
process of cotton culture does not compare with that of our July 
harvesting ; it is not greater than attends the cultivation of Indian 
corn in the usual New England method. I have seen a weakly 
white woman the worse for her labor in the cotton field, but never 
a white man, and I have seen hundreds of them at work in cotton 
fields under the most unfavorable circumstances, miserable, dis- 



350 A JOUENEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

pirited wretches, and of weak muscle, subsisting mainly, as they 
do, on corn bread. Mr. De Bow estimates one hundred thousand 
white men now engaged in the cultivation of cotton, being one 
ninth of the whole cotton force (numerically) of the country."^' 
I have just seen a commercial letter from San Antonio, which es- 
timates that the handful of Germans in Western Texas will send 
ten thousand bales of cotton, the production of their own labor, 
to market this season. If it should prove to be half this, it must 
be considered a liberal contribution to the needed supply of the 
year, by those who, following Mr. Russell, have considered West- 
ern Texas out of the true cotton region, and taking the truth of 
the common planters' assertion for granted, have thought Afri- 
cans, working under physical compulsion, the only means of 
meeting the demand which could be looked to in the future of 
the United States. 

It would not surprise me to learn that the cultivation of cotton 
by the German settlers in Texas had not, after all, been as profit- 
able as its cultivation by the planters employing slaves in the 
vicinity. I should attribute the superior profits of the planter, 
if any there be, however, not to the fitness of the climate for 
negro labor, and its unfitness for white labor, but to the fact that 
his expenses for fencing, on account of his larger fields and larger 
estate, are several hundred per cent, less than those of the farmer ; 
to the fact that his expenses for tillage, having mules and plows 
and other instruments to use at the opportune moment, are less 
than those of the farmer, who, in many cases, can not afford to 
own a single team ; to the fact that he has, fi-oni experience, a 
better knowledge of the most successful method of cultivation ; to 
the fact that he has a gin and a press of his own in the midst of his 
* Vol. l, p. 115, "Resources." 



THE QUESTION OF COTTON SUPPLY. 351 

cotton fields, to which he can carry his wool at one transfer from 
the picking* ; by which he can put it in order for market expedi- 
tiously, and at an expense much below that falling upon the 
farmer, who must first store his wool, then send it to the planter's 
gin and press and have it prepared at the planter's convenience, pay- 
ing, perhaps, exorbitantly therefor ; and, finally, to the fact that 
the planter deals directly with the exporter, while the farmer, the 
whole profit of whose crop would not pay his expenses in a jour- 
ney to the coast, must transfer his bale or two to the exporter 
through two or three middle-men, carrying it oue bale at a time, 
to the local purchaser. Merchants will never give as good prices for 
small lots as for large. There are reasons for this which I need not 
now explain. I consider, in short, that the disadvantages of the 
farmer in growing cotton are of the same nature as I have before 
explained (p. 122) with those which long ago made fire-wood of 
hand-looms, and paupers of those who could be nothing else but 
hand-loom weavers, in Massachusetts. Exactly how much is gained 
by the appHcation of labor with the advantage of capital and 
combination of numbers over its isolated application as directed 
by individuals without capital in a slaveholding region, I can not 
estimate, but no one will doubt that it is considerable. Never- 
theless, in all the cotton climate of the United States, if a white 
farmer has made money without slaves, it will be found that it has 
been, in most cases, obtained exclusively from the sale of cotton. 
If cotton is a plant the cultivation of which by free or white 
labor is especially difficult, how is it that, with the additional em- 
barrassments arising from a lack of capital, his gains are almost 
exclusively derived from his cotton crop ? 

But I may be asked, if combination is what is needed to make 
cotton a source of more general prosperity at the South, why is 



352 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

there no sucli thing as a joint-stock cotton plantation in Missis- 
sippi, as there are joint-stock cotton mills in Massachusetts, the 
stock in which is in large part owned by those employed in 
them? I ask, in reply, how is it that the common way of ob- 
taining bi'eadstnffs in northern Alabama is to sow three pecks of 
seed wheat on hard stubble ground, plow it under with unbroken 
bullocks, led with a rope, and a bull-tongue plow, and finally to 
garner rarely so much as six bushels from an acre. How is it 
that while in Ohio the spinning-wheel and handdoom are curi- 
osities, and homespun would be a conspicuous and noticeable 
material of clothing, half the white population of Mississippi still 
dress in homespun, and at every second house the wheel and 
loom are found in operation? The same influences which con- 
demn the majority of free laborers in Alabama to hand-looms, 
homespun, and three hundred pounds of wheat to the acre as the 
limit of production, also condemn them to isolated labor, poor 
soil, poor tools, bad management, " bad luck," small crops and 
small profits in cotton culture. 

The following passages from a letter published in the " New 
York Times" present convincing evidence that it is no peculiarity 
of the Western Texas climate, but only the exceptional social con- 
dition with which its people are favored, that enables free white 
labor to be employed in increasing the cotton production of the 
country. I have ascertained that the author of the letter is 
known to the editor of the Times, and is esteemed a gentleman 
of veracity and trustworthy judgment. 

" I am well acqninted with eastern Mississippi, south of -Monroe 
county, and there are few settlements where my name or face is un- 
known in the following counties, over the o-reater part of Avhich I have 
ridden on horseback, to wit: Loundes, Oktibleha. Choctaw, Carroll, 
Attalla, Winston, Noxubee, Kemper, Nashoba, Leake, Soott, Newton, 



TIIK QUESTION OF OOTTOX SUPPLY. DTy] 

Lauderdale, Clai-ke, Smith and Jasper. After four years' travel throug-Ii 
these counties, transacting business with great numbers of their inhabi- 
tants, stopping at their houses, conversing much w^ith them, and view- 
ing their mode of hving, I unhesitatingly answer that white men can 
and do labor in the cotton field, from Christmas to Christmas follow- 
ing; and that there, as elsewhere, prudence, industry and energy find 
their universal reward, success and wealth. 

'• In the counties of Choctaw, Winston, Nashoba, Newton and Smith, 
there are very few large plantations ; most of those having slaves holding 
but two or three, while those who own none are in the majority ; yet 
these are all cotton-growing counties, and the staple of their cotton, 
poor as their lands are, is equal to the average sold in the Mol)ile mar- 
ket. Where the young farmer is enterprising and go-ahead, his cotton 
is usually superior. * * * 

" The rich lands where white labor, even in small numbers, might be 
profitable, are either in the hands of large planters, or too heavily timbered 
for a single man. The only thing now preventing any poor white man 
in the South from gaining a fair competence, and even attaining wealth, 
is his own laziness, shiftlessness and ignorance ; for the small planters 
in the counties I have mentioned are deplorably ignorant. * * * 

" There is one case I remember, which is to the point ; the man lives 
in Choctaw county, and was born in GTeorgia. He does not own a 
negro, but has two boys, one sixteen, the other twelve. With the as- 
sistance of these boys, and the most imperfect agricultural implements, 
he made twenty-two bales of cotton, year before last, plenty of corn, 
and sufficient small grain for himself and family, although the season 
was mure than ordinarily bad in his neighboihood, while many of his 
neighbors, with five or six slaves, did not exceed him, and some made 
even less. He went on to his place without ten dollars in his pocket, 
gave his notes for eight hundred dollars, payable in one, two and three 
years' time, with interest at six per cent, per annum, and the ensuing 
year he purchased another one hundred and sixty acres for seven hundred 
and fifty dollars, also on time. This man is, however, far more intelligent 
and progressive in farming than those about him; he does not plant as 
did his grandfather, because his father did so, but endeavors to improve, 
and is willing to try an experiment occasionally. 

" In my own county, in Alabama, there is a woman whose husband 
died shortly after the crop was planted, leaving her without a singly 
.servant, and no assistance except i'rom a little son of twelve years of age ; 
yet she went into the field, plowed and picked her cotton, prep;a-ed her 
ground for the coming crop, and raised a second crop thereon.' 

My conclnsion, from the various evidences to which I have re- 
ferred, would be a widely difterent one from Mr. Russell's, from 
that which is generally thought to prevail with our leading capi- 
talists, mei'chants and manufacturers, and from that which seems 



354 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

to have been accepted by tbc Cotton Supply Associations of Liver- 
pool and Manchester. It is this: that there is no physical obstacle 
in the way of our country's supplying ten bales of cotton where it 
now does one. All that is necessary for this purpose is to direct 
to the cotton-producing region an adequate number of laborers, 
either black or white, or both. No amalgamation, no association 
on equality, no violent disruption of present relations is necessary. 
It is not even requisite that botli black and white should work in 
the cotton fields. It is necessary that there should be more ob- 
jects of industry, more varied enterprises, more general intelli- 
gence among the people, and especially that they should become 
or should desire to become richer, more comfortable, than they 
are. 

The simple truth is, that even if we view in the brightest light 
of Fourth of July patriotism, the character of the wdiites of the 
cotton-producing region, and the condition of the slaves, we can 
not help seeing that, commercially speaking, they are but in a 
very small part a civilized people. Undoubtedly a large number 
of merchants have a profitable business in supplying civilized 
luxuries and conveniences to the South. The same is true of 
Mexico, of Turkey, of Egypt, and of Russia. Silk, cloth and 
calico, shoes, gloves and gold watches, were sold in some quantity 
in California before its golden cofi"ers were forcibly opened ten 
years ago. The southern supply to commerce and the southern 
demand of commerce is no more what it should be, comparing 
the resources of the South with those of other lands occupied by 
an active civilized community, than is that of any half civilized 
community, than was that of California. Give the South a 
people moderately close settled, moderately well-informed, moder- 
ately ambitious and moderately industrious, somewhat approach- 



REMEDIAL MEASURES. 355 

ing that of Ohio, for instance, and what a business it would 
have ! Twenty double-track railroads from the Gulf to the lakes, 
and twenty lines of ocean steamers, would not sufficiently meet 
its requirements. Who doubts, let him study the present busi- 
ness of Ohio, and ask upon what in the natural resources of 
Ohio, or its position, could, forty years ago, a prediction of its 
present wealth and business have been made, of its present sup- 
ply and its present demand have been made, which would compare 
in value with the commercial resources and advantages of posi- 
tion possessed to-day by any one of the western cotton States?* 

REMEDIAL MEASURES. 

Mr. Gregg's scheme, which I have before described, is a sim- 
ple, common sense method of palliating the wretchedness of the 
poor of his own district, by endeavoring to make practicable to 
them the acquisition of "home comforts." That it can afford 
only a palliation will be obvious if we consider how much capital 
would be needed to make it a remedy, having a general applica- 
tion. So large a part of the whole population consists of slaves, 
whose demand for manufactured goods would be supplied by a 
small number of operatives, the factories would be required to send 
their goods to a distance for Purchasers. Mr. Gregg acknowl- 
edges that the manufacture of the coarse goods, such as are 

* Some one can render a service to civilization by publishing precisely 
what feudal rights, so called, were abolished in large parts of Germany and 
Hungary in 1848, and what results to the commerce of the districts affected 
the greater freedom and impulse to industry arising therefrom has had. If I 
am rightly informed, trade, in many cases, both export and import, has al- 
ready much more than quadrupled in value, thousands of peasants now de- 
manding numerous articles and being able to pay for them, which before 
only a few score or hundred proprietors were expected to buy. 

16 



356 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

chiefly required by slaves, and which near the factory displace 
the common home-spun and woven cloth formerly worn by the 
majority of the free people, has been already over-done. He es- 
timates the white population of South Carolina alone, " who 
ought to work and wlio do not, or who are so employed as to be 
wholly unproductive to the State," at one hundred and twenty- 
five thousand. If they were all collected, as he proposes, they 
would operate (upon his own data) five million spindles. In 
Massachusetts, with all its railroads, foundries, quarries, and 
machine shops, it is usual to reckon the plant cost of a factory of 
the character proposed by Mr. Grecrg at twenty-five dollars a 
spindle. Thus, to put at work, on Mr. Gregg's plan, merely that 
portion of the population of South Carolina who at present are 
pure vagrants, and attempting nothing directly for those who 
barely earn their own means of subsistence, a capital would be 
required, at the lowest estimate, of one hundred and twenty -five 
million dollars, or more than six times the estimated value of all 
the landed property in the State. 

But suppose that this capital could be profitably used in cot- 
ton manufacturing, would this be the best way of applying it? 

Mr. Gregg says that three fourths of the eight hundred adults 
whom he has collected at Graniteville are not able to read or to 
write their names. " With the aid of ministers of the gospel on 
the spot to preach to them and lecture them on the subject, we 
have obtained but about sixty children for our school, of about 
a hundred which are in the place. We are satisfied that 
nothing but time and patience will enable us to bring them all 
out. * * * Notwithstanding our rule that no one can be 
permitted to occupy our houses wdio does not send all his chil- 
dren to school that are between the ages of six and twelve, it 



REMEDIAL MEASURES. 357 

was with some difficulty, at first, that we could make up even a 
small school.'"'^ 

Mr. Taylor, a co-laborer of Mr. Grcgg, says : " The question 
has often been asked, Will southern operatives equal northern in 
their ability to accomplish factory work ? As a general answer, 
I would reply in the affirmative ; but at the same time it may 
with justice be said they can not at present, even in our best fac- 
tories, accomplish as much as is usual in northern mills. The 
habitude of our people has been to anything but close applica- 
tion to manual labor, and it requires time to bring the whole 
habits of a person into a new train. "f 

As aftbrding an argument against establishing factories in 
towns, Mr. Gregg refers to the history of manufacturing in 
Augusta. I myself had a singular confirmation of the correct- 
ness of his views in this respect in the information given me by 
the landlord of a hotel in Augusta, who said, in answer to my 
inquiries, that the hands employed in the factories were country 
people who had been induced by a promise of fixed cash wages 
to move into town, but who were so lazy that only an immediate 
necessity to keep them from starvation would induce them to 
work. The president or foreman of the mills had been to him 
and implored him never to give them food when they came beg- 
ging for it, as he had sometimes done, because it increased the 
difficulty of making them work. " If you ride past the factory," 
he added, " you will see them loafing about, and I reckon you 
never saw a meaner looking set of people anywhere. If they 
were niggers, they would not sell for five hundred dollars a 
head." 

* Address to South Carolina Institute. 
f De Bow's Review, January, 1850. 



858 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

Of one of the manufacturing villages of Georgia, Tobler's 
Creek, the Rev. Mr. White, (Statistics, p. 575,) says : "The char- 
acter of the operatives is marked by the usual traits which dis- 
tinguish the poor uneducated class of this country. Of the whole 
population of the village, which amounts to two hundred and 
forty, there are not twenty who can either read or write. '^' * * 
Nearly all the families residing here are those who have been 
driven by necessity to engage their children to work in the mills, 
whose toil on some worn out or barren piece of land was not 
sufficient to supply their wants." Yet the same authority says 
elsewhere (p. 576) : "No one can visit this section of the coun- 
try without forming a favorable opinion of the character of its 
population, the greater part are snug farmers, out of debt." 

I have ]n'eviously shown that the population from which Mr. 
Gregg's operatives are drawn is a rather supei'ior one to that of 
other parts of the State. 

Is it not obvious that the capital required to have the slightest 
remedial effect would be much better employed in transferring the 
raw cotton to a free country and there manufacturing it, or that it 
would be far more economical to transport, en masse, a body of 
decent, intelligent, disciplined and industrious work-people to South 
Carolina, than to enlist, drill and educate to the necessary degree 
of intelligence for effective operatives, the wretched starvelings and 
wild men of the pine woods, who have grown up under the edu- 
cational influence of slavery ? It may be replied that the labor 
of these latter may be procured at half the price per day of the 
more intelligent and industrious class. But how long would they 
be content with these low wages after they had become suffi- 
ciently intelligent to earn them ? Knowing that, on free soil, as 
it would be impossible long to prevent their knowing, the same 



REMEDIAL MEASURES. 359 

deo-ree of intellio-ence and the same amount of labor would earn 
twice the amount of comfort, how long would it be before Mr. 
Gregg's "communities" would take themselves to free soil, or — 
make free soil of South Carolina? It Avill help us to an answer 
to look for an instant at Missouri. 

In 1849, in Missouri, only fourteen counties out of one hun- 
dred were returned as sending above twenty per cent, of their 
whole population to school. Seven years afterwards came the 
presidential election, and the next year a State election, hotly 
canvassed, in which the representative of the administration 
party declared the question between himself and his opponent to 
be between the fortification of slavery and emancipation. His 
opponent courageously accepted it, and was denounced by that 
name so odious to ignorant southern citizens, abolitionist. What 
did the a Iministration party gain by it in those counties where 
education had been least obstructed ? In six of these counties 
but three hundred and twenty-eight votes, while in eight of 
these counties the vote against it was increased over that 
of the presidential election fourteen hundred and forty-six 
votes. 

It is, however, as impracticable, as it would be unsafe to the 
present system, to introduce white operatives in large numbers 
from tree soil. Impracticable, because, except at greatly en- 
hanced wages, they will not endure the necessary discomfort of 
the life of working people in a slave State ; unsafe, because, with 
their intelligence, the antagonism of slavery to their interests could 
not be concealed from them. They are naturally, in the words of 
a South Carolina editor before quoted, " enemies to the peculiar 
institution," or, as De Bow says, "European [or intelligent, in 
contradistinction to African or ignorant] labor * * * has 



360 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

not taken footliold in our limits, evidencing thus an incapacity to 
adapt itself to our condition." It is from the admission of Ger- 
man laborers into Missouri that the agitation for emancipation in 
that State has arisen. The southern gentlemen could not occupy 
the land with their forces, not even with a single slave family to 
a square mile in many parts. They could not afford to "take up" 
or hold all they left unoccupied and have not the slightest pro- 
duction from it. Much as the Germans disliked the proximity of 
slaves, they could not resist the temptation to buy this rich un- 
occupied land at a fourth part of the value of similar soil in the 
adjoining free States; government could not refuse to sell it 
them, and so came the catastrophe of popular education and of 
discussion of the value of slavery right in the midst of a slave- 
holding state. 

How can such a process be prevented from going on, or from 
recurring ? 

The Charleston Mercury says: "Traveling in any direction, 
broad uncultivated lands and beds of mineral wealth, still un- 
opened, lie before you. Settlement and cultivation mark only 
the most fertile spots. In South Carolina, one of the oldest 
States, thousands upon thousands of acres of surpassing richness 
stretch along her rivers, crowned with the unshorn forest. * * * 
These remarks have a much stronger application to the newer 
States of the South. Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, 
and Texas, exhibit this want of labor in far more startling de- 
grees." 

Mr. Spratt, writing from Charleston to the editor of the New 
Orleans Delta, (September, 1859,) upon the settlement of 
Kansas, which the South then expected to make a slave State 
before 1860 : 



REMEDIAL MEASURES. 361 

" WitliOLit slaves, there Avill be little udvantag-e in having it nomi- 
nally a slave State. * * * r^\^Q gtate of Delaware is nominally a 
slave State, but it were madness to rely on Delaware for aid; and Mis- 
souri even, which has ninety thousand slaves, has an abolition parly to 
contest for power. 

" So circumstanced, it is to be doubted whether Kansas can ever ac- 
quire the slaves to make her in fact a slave State; but should she do 
so, she must take them from Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, 
or Missouri — no one of which has slaves enough now to sustain the 
perfect integrity of a slave system. Maryland reels upon the line be- 
tween slavery and the isms, and cast her vote for Fillmore in the late 
election. Virginia is threatened with a colony of New Englanders to 
cultivate a space she can not cover with slave labor. 

" In Kentucky it has been proposed to manumit the slaves. Ten • 
nessee is aghast at the mention of the slave trade, and Missouri, as I 
have said, has an abolition party to contest for power. It can never 
strengthen slavery to take slaves from those States to Kansas, and per- 
haps there is no place in the Union where one hundred thousand slaves 
could be so profitably planted as upon the soil of the brave old State 
of Virginia." 

Thus, while we are every year presented with new projects 
from southern politicians for an increase of territory, are called 
upon to further stimulate the expanding and dispersing tendency, 
some answer must be given at home to the question : What are 
we going to do with it ? " While wc have millions of acres open 
to slave occupation, yet a perfect wilderness, while some of the 
longest settled parts of our present territory are every year re- 
gaining more and more of their original wilderness condition, 
from the dispersion of our labor over new wildernesses, when it 
is certain that civilized laborers will not come upon our territory, 
or that if they do they will wrest it from us, what can we do 
with more territory? AVhat can wc do with that we have?" 

Mr. Dc Bow says : " To one who has observed the signs of 
the times, the evidence is irresistible, that the question of labor 
supply is at this monient attracting in every part of the South 
and of the Southwest a ('egrec of attention which has never been 
accorded to it before, stiimdated as the question is by the almost 



3G2 A JOl JINEY IX THE BACK COUNTRY. 

boundless and now but partially occupied domain in our pos- 
session 0?' within our reach, adapted to rich and productive culti- 
vation ; by the increasing demand and enhanced prices obtained 
for every description of product peculiar to that domain, and by 
the unprecedented rise in the value of the only species of labor 
which it is capable of employing."'^ 

It will profit us to observe how the South, becoming, in these 
last few years, graduall}^ aware of the dilemma into which its 
policy of extension has carried it, goes to work to relieve itself. 
Up to this time it is only at a few points, in the vicinity of com- 
mercial centers, where the contact of men with each other is most 
frequent, that the dread of enterino; upon any discussion is not 
the strongest feeling manifested. The more impetuous only as 
yet have propounded a remedy, and this they advocate not earn- 
estly but frantically ; thus : 

FROM THE CHARLESTON MERCURY. 

" The alternative to the South is, whether she will continue to 
depend solely upon the natural increase of her slaves, for development 
and colonization, wholly inadequate as it is for either, or, despising for 
once and tor ever the whinings of fanaticism, she will brash from her 
path its flimsy obstacles, and demand that the original and true source 
of her labor shall be no longer closed — that Africa and America shall 
be free to reciprocate blessings ? If, when slavery was deemed an evil, 
southern men consented to the abolition of the slave trade, as the precur- 
sor of emancipation, will they adhere to the same policy when slavery 
is proved to be a blessing — nay, the very heart blood of the South ? 
Are they still advocates of emancipation? Do they not perceive that 
by such a coiu'se they are preparing the way of abolition ? Is it worthy 
of a free people to consent to absolute restrictions upon their legitimate 
progress, when progress is to them, more than to all others, the veiy 
necessity of their existence? Shall the North be permitted to supply 
her demand for labor, wdierewith to usur[) the common territories, and 
abolitionize the government by an emigration, attended with all the 
horrors of the slave trade, wliile the South is tied hand and foot? Will 

* Letter to AY. L. Yancey, published generally in Southern newspapers, 
July, 1859. 



REMEDIAL JrEASURES. 'A()3 

she perpetuate a policy which stigmatizes her civilization, betrays her 
cause into the silliest inconsistencieSj and tends to her complete 
annihilation ? Will she permit her vast and splendid resources to be 
wasted, because fanaticism and political rivalry demand the sacrifice ?" 

FROM THE SAME. 

" If it benefits the African, and benefits the southern planter, and 
benefits the trader who brings over the slaves, who is there to be in- 
jured by it? We are to be content with the answer that there is a 
pack of fools and Pharisees in England and the Northern States, whose 
feelings are hurt by the horrors of the slave trade, and that the general 
assembly of French philosophers have decided that man can righti'uUy 
have no property in man." 

FROM THE CHARLESTON STANDARD. 

" It is first necessary to see that we are right, to look at this great 
question of the slave trade, and see if, in fact, we require its establish- 
ment, and, if so, we will demand its reestablishment within the Union, 
or we will reestablish it to ourselves." 

FROM THE STATES RI&HT LOUISIANIAN. 

" Unless the slave trade be reestablished, slavery, instead of increas- 
ing, must necessarily diminish its borders, and, after a certain length 
of time, be extinguished. Slaveholders, for the present, have no other 
interest than to strengthen and defend it in all places where it already 
exists, and where it is an essential and integrant part of the domestic 
institutions," 

FROM THE MOBILE REGISTER. 

We can not people a country with blacks or whites, without a people 
to do it with, and the simple truth is, the South has not the black labor 
to spare for any such an enterprise. 

" We can not hold our own in such a race until we increase the slave 
population, and that can only be done with effective rapidity by trans- 
ferring them from the great hive of barbarian slavery in Afiica to the 
scene of humanized and Christianized slavery in America. If the 
South desires to maintain the conflict, so far against her in its results, 
for an equality of rights in the territories, and for the preservation of 
an equilibrium of political power in th(; Union, we know of no other 
way to do it but to go to work at once in an effort to repeal the laws 
of the Union which prohibit the African slave trade. This is a power- 
ful, active, and vital issue; and pushed to the wall by Ikm- fanatical 
enemies, we see no course open to the South but to strip it of all mere- 
tricious surroundings of prejudice and cant, and to discuss and meet it 
boldly on its merits." 

IG* 



SG4 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

For heaven's sake, do not propose anything so startling, is the 
first reply ; for the discussion which it must provoke will be 
ruinous to us. 

And to this time, therefore, the advocates of the slave trade 
are chiefly engaged in arguing, not the feasibility of their 
scheme, but the safety of arguing its feasibility. Mr. De Bow, 
for one, believes "it is an idle assumption that the discussion will 
divide and distract the South. The division, at most," he con- 
tends, " will prove to be of no more importance than such as 
already exists in regard to cardinal matters of State and federal 
policy ; (in saying which he can only refer to the naturaliza- 
tion question, which has been the base of the only party divi- 
sions of the South in the last six years;) "and which," continues 
Mr. De Bow, "is at any moment ready to be sacrificed when the 
common interest is menaced. We must trust our fellow-citizens 
thus far, and they in return will suspect us [who ?] neither of dis- 
trust or of treason."* 

It is clear that the majority are, at the opening, against the 
African party, that is to say, are against discussion, but it is 
equally clear that the African party can not be silenced, and 
that a pi-actical agreement will be arrived at, is in many parts 
already arrived at, as follows : 

The question shall be argued, and the South given over to 
discussion, upon these conditions : That it shall always be taken 
for granted on both sides — First, that free society is full of mor- 
bid and dangerous elements, not respectable, irreligious, and 
altogether offensive to a true Southerner. Second, that slavery, 
under our present laws, is a Bible institution, and the most effec- 
tive agent of freedom, Christianity, Democracy, civilization, and 
* Letter to Hon. Wm. L. Yancey. 



REMEDIAL MEASURES. 365 

wealth. Third, that any man who proposes measures which in- 
volve an amelioration of the condition of the slaves, or which 
look in the slightest toward the possibility of any portion of 
them or of their descendants being allowed to take care of them- 
selves, shall be called an abolitionist, and as such shall be pul)- 
licly entertained. Fourth, that the man who shows the greatest 
regard for slavery is the truest Democrat and truest Chris- 
tian, and shall be held to deserve best of his country. 

Wherever the main question is yet at all discussed, these 
conditions are rigidly adhered to. South of Washington, not a 
single newspaper article, not a single pamphlet, not a single 
sermon or address has been published, since the scheme was sug- 
gested, in which these conditions have been in the slightest 
degree infringed. 

The opponents of importation may manage to postpone a 
general engagement upon the final issue, but it is impossible 
that it shall be more than postponed, and when they can no 
longer avoid it, they will have to fight on ground upon which 
the African party will be irresistible. 

For who can object to this scheme, and on what grounds 
can he object to it, that will not, as soon as the battle is at all 
hot, stamp him an enemy to the South, a traitor, an infidel ? 
Immorality? It would not be well for a man to suggest that 
line of argument. "Either slavery is right or it is wrong, and it 
is a greater and more unmitigated wrong in liiui who keeps 
the negro to that sad condition than in him who originally 
fastened the yoke upon him." Thus replies in ndvance the 
Charleston Standard, and who dare rejoin with the Charleston 
mob, to maintain the fundamental conditions of the discussion, 
before him? 



366 A JOURXEY IX THE BACK COUNTRY. 

The only resistance to be feared at the South is from those 
ignorant citizens whose ruling passion is hatred not of slavery, 
hut of negroes, and who with some difficulty are now restrained 
from demanding measures which w^ill deport them all from 
their own vicinity. Nevertheless, they can be managed. As- 
sure th.em that an importation of the original savage stock is a 
measure directed ajxainst those who would like to Hve the 
negroes who have come of families two hundred years under 
American training a chance to better themselves wdien they can, 
without fighting or breaking laws, and they will yield their 
prejudices. 

Is evidence needed of how the plan carries, by its mere state- 
ment, conviction to those who give it a hearing, it is found in 
confessions like the following,* the writer of which opens his 
letter with expressions of doubt. The measure is a little too 
startling — impracticable — he fears ; but he presently adds : 

"I can go thus far with you, however. I have some two thousand 
acres of land thatwnll now sell for about six dollars an acre, and which, 
when twenty or even ten thousand slaves are brought into the country 
ffom Africa, or any other quarter, wnll sell for thirty dollars an acre. 
I think I could find it in my breast to pocket the difference of forty- 
eight thousand dollars, and trust to casuists to determine wdiether I 
came honestly by it. I am not sure but I could go a little further. I 
have an interest in a gold mine, whose Avork requires no very great 
intelligence, and which yields from two to four dollars a day to the hand. 
I am now purchasins: negroes at from eight hundred to eleven hun- 
dred dollars each. If I could have an opportunity of purchasing some 
one or two thousand at about two hundred dollars each, I am not cer- 
tain that I should insist upon their having been torn from their families 
either in this or the adjoining States, but could even find it in my heart 
to take them Avith a knowledge of the flxct that they had come from 
Africa. We want labor, and only labor, to a most rapid and astonish- 
ing development of w^ealth, but our sources of supply are hmited. 
What we get is hmited. What we get is taken from some other em- 
ployments in our own vicinity. The gain at one point is to be dimin- 

* Published in the CharlestOQ Standard. 



EEMEDIAL MEASURES. 367 

ished by the loss at another, and there is no other way of it but tliat 
we must set to work and laboriously breed the labor by which the 
golden harvest of our country is to be ultimately gathered." 

Another, writing to the same editor from the State Capitol 
of South Carolina, says : 

" There are many gentlemen of character and standing in the State 
who daily tell me that they are not ashamed of slavery, [the man 
would be a hero, indeed, who dare speak otherwise in that locality, 
but what follows ?] or the means by tuhich it was established. They con- 
fess the want of labor to every interest in the country, and express the 
assurance that the only kind of labor we are capable of receiving, 
without a disturbance of existing relations, is in the form of slavery." 

The domestic slave trade, slave auctions, the forcible separa- 
tion of husbands and wives, of parents and children ; the com- 
pulsion to adultery of members of Christian churches, without 
legal remedy ; and a commerce (the internal slave trade) once 
characterized by John Randolph, of Roanoke, on the floor of 
Congress, as '• the infernal traffic," has been maintained by con- 
vincing men who objected to it, on the score of morality and 
Immanity, of its necessity for the "safety" of the South, that is 
(as assumed by those interested) of the political equality in power 
of the slaveholding minority with the non-slaveholding majority 
of the republic* It can not be doubted that the African slave 

* It is an infamous libel which we by our partisanship have fastened upon 
ourselves, that the Nortli has an aggressive spirit towards the South. It 
has always been directly otherwise. Mr. Webster, in liis plea for the com- 
promise on the Vtli of M;irch, 1850, said these true words: 

"Tlic ]ion(,irable member from South Carolina, (Mr. Calhoun,) observed 
there has been a majority all along in favor of the North. If that be 
true, sir, the Nortli has acted either very liljerally and kindly, or very 
weakly ; for they never exercised that majority efficiently five times in the 
history of this government, when a division or trial of strength arose. Never. 
■VVhctlier they were out-generalled, or whether it was owing to other causes, 
I shall not stop to consider ; but no man acquainted with the history of the 



368 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

trade is, at this time, a much more obvious and immediately 
pressing necessity for that purpose than the domestic slave trade 
has ever been. And the moral objections to it are to be more 
easily overcome. As, therefore, a South Carolinian quoted else- 
where says,* " If men are to make a fuss about it, they will 
have to begin with the internal slave trade.''"' 

After all, then, the difficulty is at the North ; the North can 
never be convinced or brought to consent to the reopening of 
the foreign slave trade. 

Why not ? 

Evidently there would be no difficulty, if the same conditions 
of discussion could be imposed at the North — even in parts of 
the North. There are spots where this might be hoped for. If 
a party at the North could be got to accept those conditions of 
discussion — could be got to take ground that slavery must be 

Union can deny that the general lead in the politics of the country, for three 
fourths of the period that has elapsed since the adoption of the Constitution 
has been a southern lead." 

The Charleston Courier, commenting on a discourse delivered in South 
Carolina, against the immediate secession of that great Power from our 
Union, to which the Courier itself is yet kindly opposed, says it "truthfully 
as well as strongly, details and depicts the various occasions on \vhich Hoath- 
ern interests have obtained the mastery in Congress, or, at least, impor- 
tant advantages, which are well worthy of the consideration of all who 
erroneously suppose that the action of the general government has been, on 
the whole, adverse to slavery. The truth is that our government, although 
hostile in its incipiency [that is, until after the administration of Jefferson] 
to domestic slavery, and starting into political being with a strong bent to- 
ward abolition, yet afterwards so changed its policy that its action for the 
most part, and with only a few exceptions, has fostered the slaveholding 
interest, and swelled it from six to fifteen states, and from a feeble and 
sparse population to one of ten millions. 

* Sea-Board Slave States, p. 522. 



REMEDIAL MEASURES. 369 

considered a good thing- for low people, or for niggers alone, and 
could be kept in ascendency in a few States, or a few pai'ts 
of States, that would be sufficient; the South being united 
to control Congress and the navy, and remove the present 
difficulties.* 

Not to directly and avowedly legalize the traffic ; that would 
be too much to hope of this generation. The friends of the 
institution at the North could hardly be ashed to advocate that. 
It would be too much for the South to demand that, except to 
make a less advanced position appear more tenable — except to 
prepare the way for a new " compromise." But the friends of 
slavery at the North can be brought to adopt measures in the 
interest of the South, which, if carried, will soon involve the 
African slave trade as a necessity — a necessity of that kind 
which knows no law, which cares for no law, which will evade 
or overcome all law and all legal force that seeks to prevent the 
profits which would soon attend the supply of labor to the insati- 
able demand of capitalists for the South. 

" The course wo propose to be pursued is this : Let each southern 
State say, through her legislature, that the importation — immigration 
if you prefer — of the African race to the South, is the means appointed 
of heaven for theii* civilization, and that as their coming will be nm- 

* ""We took occasion to notice, a few days since, the resolution reported by 
Mr. Slidell, from the Committee on Foreign Relations, proposing to give to 
England and France notice of the abrogation of the treaty stipulations by 
which we are bound to keep a naval force upon the African coast for the 
suppression of the slave trade. We stated then our approbation of this 
measure, from the conviction that it is onerous to our country, destructive 
to our seamen engaged in this service, and utterly inefficient for the purpose 
intended. We also approve of it for another reason, which wo will state 
with perfect frankness to the people of this country. We have no sympathy 
in the purposes of this convention, and no wish for its success." — Charleston 
Standard. 



370 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 



tually beneficial both to us and to them, hereafter it shall be lawful for 
all ships having such pafisengers on board, freely to land them at any 
port or harbor in the State ; that the sheriff of the district in which 
the port may be situated shall lodge such passengers at the expense 
of the State, until they can find employment, and shall moreover 
pay to the captain of the ship bringing them liberal passage money, 
to be charged against the State in the first instance, and provided 
for in any subsequent contract respecting their service and employ- 
ment." — Pee Dee Times. 



Governor Moore, of Alabama, being a candidate for reelection, 
and addressed on the subject of the slave trade, says that " he is 
in favor of modifying the laws which make it piracy, and dis- 
criminating among the different grades of the offense, but thinks 
that neither this nor any other question should be allowed to 
divide the South in the crisis of the approaching presidential 
campaign." 

Tins indicates the policy of the mischief-makers. Insist 
that it is a mistake to suppose that slavery is an evil, and 
wait for a chance to demand, with some show of force, as a 
matter of courtesy and of safety to the Union, the modifica- 
tion of the laws against the African slave trade. Then the 
Cuba game. 

The Florida jury, which lately had a slaver captain in their 
hands, published a card in which they pledged themselves to 
labor unremittingly for a " repeal of all laws which directly or 
indirectly condemn" the institution of slavery, or "those who 
have inherited or maintained it." They denominated the preju- 
dice which has existed against the business of importing Africans 
"a sickly sentiment of pretended philanthropy." 

Undoubtedly the African slave trade is yet protested against 
by many. It would be unjust and unkind to say that the lead- 
ing politicians of the South had adopted it, and were only 



EEMEDIAL MEASURES. 371 

restrained from openly advocating it from a fear that by so doing 
they would open ground upon which a conservative party could 
rally. 

It is not unjust to say; it is certainly true that there is a 
necessity upon the South — a pressing necessity — a necessity 
of constantly increasing pressure, which, if not in some other 
way met, must inevitably lead to the renewed importation of 
Africans. 

Says a Virginian, addressing Elihu Burritt : 

"Europe needs it; every steamer brings us intelligence that efforts 
are to be made to produce more cotton. Tropical and semi-tropical 
products — some of them articles of prime necessity — are constantly 
increasing in price. Already sugar is so high that its consumption in 
Europe is becoming a luxury. Cotton is rising daily ; and no sugar 
or cotton lands are brought into cultivation. Nor can they, Tiiere is 
a want of labor to cultivate these lands. Give us more of the only 
kind of labor that will enable us to keep up the supply of the raw ma- 
terial, and the free labor of Europe and the North can find employ- 
ment, and consequently bread in its manufacture. Diminish the sup- 
ply of cotton, or let it not increase to keep pace with the demand, and 
you throw thousands out of employment, and bring starvation upon all 
manufacturing communities." 

"America needs it. The North needs it, as Western Europe does, 
for clothing, to furnish the raw material for manufacture. The South 
needs it to bring more laud into cultivation." 

This is the plain truth, and there is no avoiding it. The Afri- 
can slave trade may easily be made a more pressing necessity than 
it is at present by an enlargement of the field of slave occupation ; 
but it is already, to-day, a necessity more urgent than the Dred 
Scott decision was yesterday, than the repeal of the Missouri 
Compromise was the day before yesterday, than the Fugitive 
Slave Law was the day before that ; a necessity more imperative 
and obvious than the internal slave trade ever has been ; a neces- 
Bity less sincerely resisted, and by far less logically, less convinc- 



372 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY 

ingly, by the politicians of the South to-day, than the inter-State 
slave trade was by those of the last generation.* 

For the politicians of the South it is a necessity which can no 
more be avoided than agitation can be avoided by those of the 
North. As, says Mr. Spratt, in concluding the article on the 
settlement of Kansas, from which I recently quoted : " The for- 
eign slave trade is the certain road to power [with the three fifths 
rule] for the South, and the only road to power within the 
Union."! 

Is dissolution or the slave trade, to be the next alternative pre- 
sented us by the politicians of the South ? 

I see not how any man in his senses, comprehensively viewing 
the whole ground, can escape from the conclusion, that, if not 
the next, it is but a few steps beyond it. 

Is there no ground on which a Union party can permanently 
stand at the South ? 

* "Both South Carolina and G-eorgia have at different times passed acts to 
prevent the internal slave trade. Governor Williams, of South Carolina, in 
his annual message to the Legislature of that State (1817) spoke of it as a 
* remorseless and merciless traffic, a ceaseless dragging along the highways 
of a crowd of suffering beings to minister to insatiable avarice, condemned 
alike by enlightened humanity, wise pohcy, and the prayers of the just.' " — 
Hildrefh, vol. vi., p. 614. 

f " It may be said that the slave trade can never be re-established within 
this Union. This may be true, perhaps, and we would regret the alternative 
thus presented to us. We have, with the northern States, a common inde- 
pendence, a common government and a common history, and we would re- 
gret tlie necessity for a separation ; but if we have a separate existence to 
defend, we must have the means by which we are to defend it ; if we have 
war within this Union for the preservation of our institutions, we must have 
within this Union the right to use our own natural implements of warfixre, or 
we must leave it. It is first necessary to see that we are right, to look at 
this great question of the slave trade, and see if, in fact, wo require its rees- 
tablishment, and if so, wo will demand its reestablishment within this Union, 
or we will reestablish it to ourselves," — Charleston Standard. 



REMEDIAL MEASURES. 373 

There is. 

" Slavery shall, by general consent, be hereafter confined within 
Its present limits." 

There is no other. 

Is this ruin to the South ? 

Ruin to the present ruling politicians of the South, it per- 
haps is. 

WHAT MIGHT BE ANTICIPATED FROM A TERRITORIAL RESTRICTION 
OF SLAVERY. 

The necessity of the South really demands only cheaper labor 
and cheaper means of exchanging the results of labor. To re- 
strict the region within which slave labor may be employed, 
would, after the varying demands for labor of diflerent parts 
within the region had been equalized, check the further emigra- 
tion of slaves from any particular district. As the natural in- 
crease of neo^roes would then in a o-reat measure remain where it 
was born, any. given district would soon be better supplied than 
at present with laborers. (This tendency might be increased by 
legal restrictions on the transfer, or State exportation of slaves.) 
With a better provision of laborers, land would increase in pro- 
duction. With an increased production of each district, new 
facilities of transportation to the consumer would be required 
from that district. With a diminished cost of labor, these facili- 
ties could be more cheaply obtained ; with a larger amount to 
carry, more effective means of carriage could be provided with 
profit. With the cost of exportation, the cost of impoitation 
would be lessened. Articles of use, comfort and luxury, iutlud- 
ing tools and machinery, and the results of study in improved 
methods of agriculture, and in all industry, would be made more 



374 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

accessible, cheaper and more common. This would act further, 
and constantly further and further, to lessen the cost of the labor 
necessary to obtain a given value of cotton or of any other pro- 
duction of the soil. 

The present facility of acquiring land in the cotton States, the 
capital needed for its purchase not exceeding, for fresh soil, on an 
average, three dollars an acre, and the large outlay of capital 
needed to obtain labor, necessarily induces that mode of agricul- 
ture which has desolated so large a portion of the seaboard slave 
States. Twenty slave laborers cost over t\Yenty thousand dol- 
lars.*^' They will cultivate four hundred acres of land, which 
costs less than a tenth of that sum. Knowing that he can buy as 
much more as he wants, at an equally low rate, why, when the 
production of his land decreases, should the slave owner drain it, 
or manure it, or "rest" it, or vary liis crops, to prevent further 
exhaustion ? It will cost twenty dollars' worth of labor to ma- 
nure an acre. Why make this expenditure when he can obtain 
other land at five dollars an acre, (fenced and ready for the plow,) 
which, without manure, will return just as much cotton for the 
same amount of labor (in cultivation merely) as this with it? 
Why, when on fresh soil he can get three hundred dollars' worth 
of cotton a year for each slave employed in cultivating it, should 
he apply that labor to some other crop on his old land which 
would return him not more than a hundred dollars for each slave 

* The following paragraph, from a North Carolma newspaper, gives the 
latest quotations: 

" We learn, through a friend, that on Monday last the following property 
was sold in Salisbury at the prices annexed : Leve, $1,600 ; George, $1,895 ; 
Charlotte and two children, $1,600 ; Henry, $1,476; Alick, $1,600; and 
Hiram, $2,130. The above prices show that negro property is not depreci- 
ating in value." 



REMEDIAL MEASURES. 375 

employed? Why, in these circumstances, should he arrange to 
remain half his life on the same spot? and if he is not expecting 
to remain, why should he expend his costly labor on houses and 
roads and bridges and fruit trees, or on schools and churches, or 
on railroads and Avharves ? Fifteen years hencii his land will no 
longer be worth cultivating for cotton, and it will then afford no 
business to a railroad or a steamboat, and in the mean time the 
difference between wagoning and railing or boating his cotton to 
the merchant would do but little toward defraying the cost of a 
railroad or establishing a steamboat route. 

"In 1825, Madison County, [Alabama,] cast 3,000 votes; 
now, [1855,] it can not cast exceeding 2,500. * * The fresh- 
ness of its agricultural glory is gone; the vigor of its youth 
is extinct, and the spirit of desolation seems brooding over it." 
These are what the Hon. C, C. Clay, member of Congress from 
Alabama, describes as " memorials of the artless and exhausting 
culture of cotton" in the State he represents. But why thus 
artless and exhausting ? He himself gives the answer : " Our 
small planters, after taking the cream off their lands, * * * 
are going further West and South, in search of other virgin lands, 
which they will despoil and impoverish in a similar manner." 
And when they have done this, they fnlly anticipate going still 
further and further, and again and again repeating the process. 
Can the men who do this and who have these anticipations be 
expected to build railroads, or bridges, or schools, or churches? 
Can they, wanting nothing but corn, coffee, hogs, niggers, and 
camp furniture, support mechanics or merchants? Can they 
form by themselves a prosperous or respectable comnnmity ? 
Will the annexation of Sonora, of the whole of Mexico, Nicar- 
augua, Cuba, and the Amazon region enable them to do so ? 



376 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

Except the African slave trade is reestablished, it will have^ 
and every southern gentleman knows it and will acknowledge 
it — directly the contrary influence. The first thing necessary to 
the prosperity of the South is, to make possible to its citizens 
the comforts of civilized life. To this is first essential the civil- 
ized idea of home ; and this will not be gained while the nomadic 
and vagabond propensities of its petty patriarchs continue to be 
stimulated by our government as they have been hitherto. 

OBJECTIONS. 

Practically, I have heard but one urged : that the danger of 
insurrection would increase. This supposes that a portion of the 
non-slaveholding population would remove to free territory, or 
at least that the slave population would increase more rapidly 
than the free. 

I believe that the counteracting element would soon be 
obvious, in the incoming of a " town population" of whites, 
which would follow from the greater abundance of raw material — 
the production of unskilled labor — and the better markets which 
an increasing density even of a plantation population would 
occasion. This could be insured, if thought necessary, by laws, 
for a time, prohibiting slave labor to be employed for any other 
purpose than the production of raw materials and in domestic 
duties, thus obliging planters to give employment to free, 
instead of using, as at present, slave mechanics. 

No one apprehends that a plan of general insurrection will be 
devised and successfully executed by negroes over a large extent 
of country. The danger is that the slaves will rise and make a 
temporarily successful stand in some of those districts in which 
the proportion of white inhabitants is the smallest, (it being now 



REMEDIAL MEASURES. S11 

one man to a liundrcd slaves of both sexes, in some parts,) and 
that from such a success an insurrectionary contagion will be 
communicated to adjoining districts, in which the strength 
of the whites is otherwise sufficient to leave no room for appre- 
hension. 

There is now a law in several of the slave States, perhaps in 
all, which requires that there shall be at least one white man 
resident on ever}^ plantation. This law, while it recognizes the 
principle that each owner of slaves should be required to main- 
tain any arrangement that is deemed necessary by the legisla- 
ture for the safe control of his property, is very inadequate to its 
purpose, for precisely under the circumstances where danger is 
most to be apprehended, it posts the weakest guard. I have 
seen four adjoining plantations, the aggregate slave population 
of which was close upon one thousand, with but one overseer 
living on each, and these, together with one other, the only 
Avhite men within several hours' ride; all the land in the vicinity 
being, in fact, engrossed in these great plantations. In a region 
of small plantations there are not only more whites on the 
plantations themselves, proportionately to the number of blacks, 
but almost always resident, some families of non-slaveholding 
whites. 

Suppose that, instead of this inefficient law, it should be 
enacted that each owner of a plantation on which lived twenty- 
five slaves, should either himself reside, or should cause a white 
overseer to reside on each such plantation, and that for every 
twenty-five slaves, additional to the first twenty-five, he should 
cause another white man, as overseer or assistant overseer, to 
reside. Further : that each such owner or overseer, (one only 
for each plantation, however large,) should be held responsible to 



378 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

the magistrates of the county for the prudent guardianship of 
said slaves ; that he should be required to report at stated inter- 
vals the number he had in charge, and any other particulars 
necessary to give confidence that a sufficient guard was main- 
tained. It would not be necessary that the assistants should be 
employed as overseers. They might be mechanics; tliey 
might be any poor whites already resident in the vicinity, who 
could be depended upon to be always within reach if wanted by 
the responsible overseer. 

Such a law would not only be far more effective than the pre- 
sent one, for the present circumstances, it would be equally so 
for a slave population of ten times the present average density ; 
because even though the white population should not increase 
proportionately, those classes of it which are now mainly relied 
upon to prevent insurrection, would be stronger, and more effec- 
tively stationed for the purpose.* 

It is, however, the opinion of students on the subject whose 
judgment is most respected at the South, that the slave 
population, if densely settled, would be less dangerous and more 
efficiently managed than as at present, even without any such 
precaution as I have suggested, and this opinion seems reason- 
able. The following is from a Memoir on Negro Slavery, 
written by Chancellor Harper, of Sonth Carolina, edited by Mr. 

* If to such a law there should be added a provision requiring that no one 
should be deemed an overseer, within the meaning of the act, who had not 
been certified by specified authorities to be a man of good character and 
of adequate intelligence and information for the legal duties to be imposed 
upon him, it would not only be a humane act toward the slaves, but would 
practically embody a well-distributed and trustworthy police force, vastly 
better for its purpose, and costing the community less than the present rural 
patrols. 



REMEDIAL MEASURES. 379 

De Bow, of Louisiana, in which state it was published not ten 
years ago, while it is yet exposed for sale by booksellers in 
Mobile and Charleston, without causing their expulsion. Hence 
it may be inferred that the mob as yet really hold the same 
opinions : 

" President Dew," (whose writings have also escaped being placed 
on the Index Expurgatorium,) " President Dew," says Chancellor 
Harper, endorsed as to safety by Commissioner De Bow, '' has very 
fully shown how utterly vain are the fears of those who, though there 
may be no danger for the present, yet apprehend great danger for the 
future, when the number of slaves shall be greatly increased. He has 
shown that the larger and more condensed society becomes, the easier 
it will be to maintain subordination, supposing the relative numbers of 
the different classes to remain the same, or even if there should be a 
very disproportionate increase of the enslaved class." 

" When the demand for agricultural labor shall be fully supplied, 
then of course the labor of slaves will be directed to other employ- 
ments and enterprises. Already it begins to be found that, in some 
instances, it may be used as profitably in works of public improve- 
ment. As it becomes cheaper, it will be appUed to more various pur- 
poses, and combined in larger masses. It may be commanded and 
combined with more facility than any other sort of labor, and the 
laborer, kept in strict subordination, will be less dangerous to the 
security of society than in any other country which is crowded and 
overstocked wnth a class of what are called free laborers. Let it be 
remembered that all the great and enduring monuments of human art 
and industry — the w^onders of Egypt, the everlasting works of Rome, 
were created by the labor of slaves."* 

But the Egyptians and the Romans enjoyed the advantage of 
an unimpeded importation of slaves, when engaged in these 
works. It was a dense slave population only which made them 
possible ; and if the South is to rival them it must reopen the 
African slave trade, or put a check upon the dispersion of its 
laborers, which is thus shown to be as much a measure of safety 
as of glory. 

* Resources, Vol. ii., p. 233. 
17 



380 A JOURNEY. IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

The alleged danger, on whicli is based tlie plea of the neces- 
sity of the South to extend slavery, I propose to yet further con- 
sider in the last chapter. I will now simply add that the advan- 
tages and the safety of a restriction of the territorial field of slave 
labor, and of other measures which, as I have suggested, migbt 
be employed for the same purposes, will be found much more 
fully and clearly set forth in any of the many able papers which 
have been published in South Carolina since the last presidential 
election in advocacy of the African slave trade. 



CHAPTER IX. 

CHARACTER AND MANNERS. 
FORMULA FOR JUSTIFYING SLAVERY. 

Since the growth of the cotton demand has doubled the 
value of slave labor, and with it the pecuniary inducement to 
prevent negroes from taking care of themselves, hypotheses and 
easy methods for justifying their continued slavery have been 
multiplied. I have not often conversed with a planter about 
the condition of the slaves, that he did not soon make it evident, 
that a number of these were on service in his own mind, naively 
falling back from one to another, if a few inquiries about matters 
of fact were addressed him without obvious argumentative pur- 
pose. The beneficence of slavery is commonly urged by an 
exposition not only of the diet, and the dwellings, and the jollity, 
and the devotional eloquence of the negroes, but also by demon- 
strations of the high mental attainments to which individuals are 
already found to be arriving. Thus there is always at hand 
some negro mathematician, who is not merely held to be far in 
advance of the native Africans, but who beats most white men in 
his quickness and accuracy in calculation, and who is at the same 
time considered to be so thoroughly trustworthy, that he is con- 
stantly employed by his master as an accountant and collecting 
agent; or some negro whose reputation for ingenuity and skill in 
the management and repair of engines, sugar-mills, cotton presses, 



382 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

or other macliinery, is so well established that his services are more 
highly valued, throughout a considerable district, than any white 
man's ; or some negro who really manages his owner's plantation, 
his agricultural judgment being deferred to, as superior to that 
of any overseer or planter in the county. Scarcely a plantation 
did I visit on which some such representative black man was 
not acknowledged and made a matter of boasting by the owner, 
who, calling attention perhaps to the expression of intelligence 
and mien of self-confidence which distinguished his premium 
specimen, would cheerfully give me a history of the known special 
circumstances, practically constituting a special mental feeding, 
by which the phenomenon was to be explained. Yet it might 
happen that the same planter would presently ask, pointing to 
the brute-like countenance of a moping field hand, what good 
would freedom be to such a creature ? And this would be one 
who had been provided from childhood with food, and shelter, 
and clothing with as little consideration of his own therefor as 
for the air he breathed ; who had not been allowed to determine 
for himself with whom he should associate ; with what tools and 
to what purpose he should labor; who had had no care on 
account of his children ; who had no need to provide for old 
age; who had never had need to count five-and-twenty ; the 
highest demand upon whose faculties had been to discrimi- 
nate between cotton and crop-grass, and to strike one with a 
hoe without hitting the other; to whose intelligence, though 
hving in a civilized land, the pen and the press, the mail and the 
the telegraph, had contributed nothing ; who had no schooling 
as a boy ; no higher duty as a man than to pick a given quan- 
tity of cotton between dawm and dark ; and of whom, under this 
training and these confinements, it mio-ht well be wondered that 



FORMULA FOR JUSTIFYING SLAVERY. 383 

ho was found aUe to understand and to speak the language of 
human intelligence any more than a horse. 

Again, one would assure me that he had witnessed in his own 
time an obvious advan.ce in the quality of the slaves generally ; 
they were more active, less stupid, employed a larger and more 
exact vocabulary, and w^ere less superstitious, obstinate, and per- 
verse in their habits of mind than when he was himself a boy ; 
but I had only to presume that, with this rapid improvement, 
the negroes would soon be safely allowed to take some step 
toward freedom, to be assured with much more apparent confi- 
dence than before, that in the special quality which originally 
made the negro a slave, there had been no gain ; that indeed it 
was constantly becoming more evident that he was naturally 
too deficient in forecasting capacity to be able to learn how to 
take civilized care of himself. 

As a rule, when the beneficence of slavery is argued by south- 
erners, an advancing intellectual as well as moral condition of 
the mass of negroes is assumed, and the high attainments of 
individuals are pointed to as evidence of what is to be expected 
of the mass, if the system is not disturbed. Suggest that 
any modification of the system would enlarge its beneficence, 
however, and an exception to the general rule, as regards the 
single quality of providence, is at once alleged, and in such a 
manner, that one can not but get the impression that, in this 
quality, the negro is believed to be retrograding as surely as he 
is advancing in everything else; and this is one method by which 
the unconditional perpetuation of the system, as it is, is justified. 
Such a justification must of course involve the supposition that 
in the tenth generation of an unremitted training, discipline, 
education, and custom in abject dependence upon a voluntary 



384 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

provision by others, for every wish of which the gratification 
is permitted, white men would be able, as a rule, to gain in 
the quality of providence and capacity for independent self- 
support. 

As to the real state of the case, I find, in my own observation, 
no reason for doubting, what must be expected of those inter- 
ested, that the general improvement of the slave is usually some- 
what overrated, and his forecasting ability underrated. Measures 
intended to prevent a man from following his natural inclinations 
often have the eff'ect of stimulating those inclinations ; and I 
believe that the system which is designed not merely to relieve 
the negro from having any care for himself, but, as far as prac- 
ticable, to forcibly prevent him from taking care of himself, in 
many particulars to which he has more or less instinctive inclina- 
tion, instead of gradually suppressing this inclination, to some 
extent stimulates it, so that the southern negro of to-day, how- 
ever depraved in his desires, and however badly instructed, is 
really a man of more cunning, shrewdness, reticence, and per- 
sistence in what he does undertake for himself than his father 
was. The healthful use of these qualities (which would consti- 
tute providence) is, however, in general, successfully opposed by 
slavery, and, as far as the slave is concerned, nothing worse than 
this can be said of the system. 

Admitting that, in this view, slavery is not beneficent, or is no 
longer beneficent, or can be but for a time beneficent to the 
slave, the present attitude of the South still finds a mode of 
justification with many minds, in the broad assertion that the 
negro is not of the nature of mankind, therefore can not be a 
subject of inhumanity. This, of course, sweeps the field, if it 
does anything : thus, (from the Day-Book,) 



FORMULA FOK JUSTIFYING SLAYEKY. 385 

" The wide-spread delusion that southern institutions are an evil, 
and their extension dangerous — the notion so prevalent at the North 
that there is a real antagonism, or that the system of the South is hos- 
tile to northern interests ; the weakened union sentiment, and the utter 
debauchment, the absolute traitorism of a portion of the northern peo- 
ple, not onl}^ to the Union, but to Democratic institutions, and to the 
cause of civilization on this continent ; all these, with the minor and 
most innumerable mischiefs that this mighty world-wide imposture 
has engendered or drags in its midst, rest upon the dogma, the single 
assumption, the sole elementary foundation falsehood, that a negro is 
a black man." 

This bold ground is not as often taken at the Soutli as by des- 
perate bidders for southern confidence among ourselves. I have 
heard Christian men, however, when pushed for a justification of 
the sealing up of the printed Bible, of the legal disregard of mar- 
riage, of giving power to rascally traders to forcibly separate fami- 
lies, and so on, refer to it as a hypothesis not at all to be scouted 
under such circumstances. Yet, as they did so, there stood behind 
their chairs, slaves, in whose veins ran more Anglo-Saxon blood 
than of any African race's blood, and among their other slaves, 
it is probable there were many descendants of Nubians, Moors, 
Egyptians, and Indians, all interbred with white and true negro 
tribes, so that it would be doubtful if there remained one single 
absolutely pure negro, to which animal alone their argument 
would strictly apply. If the right or expediency of denying the 
means of preparing themselves for freedom to these beings could 
even be held to be coexistent with the evident preponderance in 
them of certain qualities of form, color, etc., the number of those 
who are held unjustly or inexpediently in the bonds of a perpetual 
slavery is already quite large in the South, and is gradually but 
surely increasing — is increasing much more rapidly than are 
their means of cultivating habits which are necessary to be cul- 



386 A JOUKXEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

tivated, before the manliest child of white men is capable of 
enj oy i ng freedom . 

There are but two methods of vindicating the habit of depend- 
ing on the labor of slaves for the development of wealth in the 
land, w^hich appear to me, on the face of them, entitled to be 
treated gravely. One of these, assuming the beings held in 
slavery to be as yet, generally incompetent to take care of them- 
selves in a civilized manner, and dangerous to the life as well as 
to the wealth of the civilized people who hold them in slavery, 
argues that it is necessary for their humane maintenance, and 
to prevent them from acquiring an increase of the disposition 
and strength of mind and will which has always been felt a 
source of danger to the well-being of their masters, that all the 
present laws for their mental repression should be rigidl}^ main- 
tained. It is not to be denied, I think, that there is some 
ground for this assumption. Inasmuch as it is also argued that 
the same necessity requires that these beings, and with them all 
these laws, should be carried on to territory now free from them, 
we are called upon to give a sober consideration to the argu- 
ment which is based upon it. This I shall do in the last chapter. 
The other method to which I refer assumes that by having a 
well-defined class set apart for drudging and servile labor, the 
remainder of a community may be preserved free from the de- 
meaning habits and traits of character which, it is alleged, 
servile and menial obligations and the necessity of a constant 
devotion to labor are sure to fix upon those who are subject to 
them. Hence a peculiar advantage in morals and in manners 
is believed to belong to the superior class of a community so 
divided. I am inclined to think that there is no method of 
justifying slavery, which is more warmly cherished by those in- 



FORMULA FOR JUSTIFYING SLAVERY. 387 

terested to maintain it, than this. I am sure that there is none 
which planters are more ready to suggest to their guests.* 

No sensible man among us shuts his eyes to the ignorance, 
meanness, vice, and misery which accompanies our general pros- 
perity ; no class of statesmen, no politicians or demagogues, no 
writers deny or ignore it. It is canvassed, published, studied, 
struggled with, by all honest men, and this not in our closets 
alone, but in our churches, our legislatures, our colleges, our 
newspapers, our families. We are constantly urging, constantly 
using means for discovering it and setting it forth plainly. AVe 
commission able men to make a business of bringing it to the 
light, and we publish the statistics which their labors supply as 
legislative documents to be circulated at the genferal expense, in 
order that our misfortune may be as well known and as exactly 
comprehended as possible. 

* From an ^^ Address on Climatology^'" before the Academy of Science, by 
Dr. Barton, of New Orleans: — 

•'The institution of slavery operates by contrast and comparison; it ele- 
vates the tone of the superior, adds to its refinement, allows more time to 
cultivate tlie mind, exalts the standard in morals, manners, and intellectual 
endowments, operates as a safety-valve for the evil disposed, leaving the 
upper race purer, while it really preserves from degradation, in the scale of 
civilization, the inferior, which we see is their uniform destiny when left to 
themselves. The slaves constitute essentially the lowest class, and society 
is immeasurably benefited by having this class, which constitutes the offen- 
sive fungus — the great cancer of civilized life — a vast burthen and expense 
to every community, under surveillance and control ; and not only so, but 
under direction as an efficient agent to promote the general welfare and in- 
crease the wealth of the community. The history of the world furnishes no 
Institution under similar management, where so much good actually results 
to the governors and the governed as this in the southern States of North 
America." 

" It is by the existence of slavery, exempting so largo a portion of our 
citizens from labor, that we have leisure for intellectual pursuits.'' — Governor 
Hammond, in South. Literary Mess. 

17^ 



388 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTET. 

From mucli of all this, which so painfully and anxiously con- 
cerns ITS, we are told that the South is free. We are told that 
what we bewail is seen at the South to be the result of a mis- 
taken social system ; that the South escapes that result by 
slavery. We do not deny, we daily acknowledge that there are 
mistakes in our system ; we endeavor to remedy them ; and we 
not unfrequently have to acknowledge that in doing so, we have 
made some of our bad things worse. Does slavery relieve all ? 
And without compensation ? We often find, upon a thorough 
review, that our expedients, while they have for a time seemed 
to produce very valuable results, have in fact corrected one evil 
by creating or enhancing another. AVe have borrowed from 
Peter to pay Paul. In this way we find investigation and dis- 
cussion to be constantly- essential to prevent errors and mistakes 
from being exaggerated and persevered in unnecessarily. Thus 
we — our honestly humane part at least — are ever calling for 
facts, ever publishing, proclaiming, discussing the facts of our 
evil. It is only those whose selfish interest is thought by them- 
selves to be served by negligence, who resist investigation and 
publication, who avoid discussion. Thus we come to habitually 
associate much activity of discussion, much consideration, much 
publication with improvement — often no doubt erroneously — 
still it is natural and rational that when we find no discussion of 
facts, no publication, no consideration, where we find general 
consideration and general discussion practically prevented by a 
forcible resistance to publication, we can not but suspect there is 
something sadly needing to be made better. And this last we do 
find to be the case at the South, and with regard to slavery. 
Why, if their system has such tangible evidence of its advan- 
tages within the personal knowledge of any citizen, do they 



FORMULA FOR JUSTIFYING SLAVERY. .389 

object to its alleged disadvantages being set forth for considera- 
tion, and, if it should happen, discussion ? True, we may be 
wrong, we may be mistaken in supposing that this, our constant 
publication and challenge to discussion is a good thing. 
Perhaps if we were better, we should talk less, know less of 
what evil remained to be gradually grown out of. It might be 
found that the constant consideration of our evil had had a bad 
effect upon us. But I have not found that the people of the 
South are inclined to shut their eyes, and close their ears, and 
bar their imaginations to the same evil. With the misery which 
prevails among us, southerners generally appear to be, indeed, 
more familiar than the most industrious of our home philan- 
thropists. Great as it is, it is really overestimated at the South — 
overestimated in the aggregate at least — for it is perhaps impos- 
sible to overestimate the sufferings of individuals. South of Vir- 
ginia, an intelligent man or woman is rarely met who does not 
maintain, with the utmost apparent confidence, that the people 
who do the work of the North are, on the whole, harder driven, 
worse fed, and more destitute of comfort than are the slaves at 
the South, taking an average of both classes ; and this I heard 
assumed by gentlemen, the yearly cost of maintaining whose own 
slaves, according to their statement to. me, would not equal the 
average monthly expenses of an equal number of the poorest 
class of laborers I have ever known at the North. I have heard 
it assumed by planters, who not only did not themselves enjoy, 
but who never imagined or aspired to a tithe of the comfort to 
which most journeymen mechanics whom I have known are 
habituated. I have heard it assumed by gentlemen, nine- 
tenths of whose neio-hbors for a hundred miles around them 
lived in a manner which, if witnessed at the North, would 



390 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

have made them objects of compassion to the majority of our 
day-laborers. 

A gentleman coming up the Mississippi, just after a recent 
" Southern Commercial Convention" at Memphis, says : 

" For three days I have been sitting at a table three times a day op- 
posite four of the fire-eaters. * * * It was evident that they Avere 
sincere; for they declared to one another the behef that Providence 
was directing the South to recommence the importation of Africans, 
that she mig-ht lead the world to civilization and Christianity through 
its dependence upon her soil for cotton. All their conversation was 
consistent with this. They beheved the South the center of Chris- 
tianity and the hope of the world, while they had not the slightest 
doubt that the large majority of the people of the ISTorth were much 
more to be pitied than their own negroes. Exclusive of merchants, 
manufacturers, lawyers, and politicians, they evidently imagined the 
whole population of the North to be quite similar to the poor white 
population of the South. Yet they had traveled in the North, it ap- 
peared. I could only conclude that their observation of northern 
working men had been confined to the Irish operatives of some half- 
finished western railroad, living in temporary shanties along the 
route." 

I have even found that conservative men, who frankly acknowl- 
edged the many bad eifects of slavery, and confessed the conviction 
that the northern slave States were mined by it ; men who ex- 
pressed admiration of Cassius Clay's course, and acknowledged 
no little sympathy with his views, and who spoke with more con- 
tempt of their own fanatics than of the Abolitionists themselves ; 
that such men were inclined to apologize fur slavery, and for 
their own course in acting politically for its extension and per- 
petuation, by assuming certain social advantages to exist where 
it prevailed. "There is a higher tone in southern society than 
at the North," they would say, " which is, no doubt, due to the 
greater leisure which slavery secures to us. There is less anx- 
iety for wealth, consequently more honesty. This also leads to 



FOEMTJLA FOR JUSTIFYING SLAVERY. 391 

the habit of more generous living and of hospitality, which is so 
characteristic of the South." 

I think that there is a type of character resulting in a sec- 
ondary way from slavery, of which Mr. Clay is himself a noble 
example, which attracts admiration and aftection in a rare man- 
ner. I shall explain this secondary action of slavery by and by. 
I have come to the conclusion that whatever may be the good 
results of slavery in the way I shall then describe, this so con- 
stantly asserted, so generally conceded, of inducing a " higher 
tone" of breeding, and especially of nourishing the virtue of 
hospitality, is chimerical. 

Some reader may at once be inclined to say that the south- 
erners whom he has met are unquestionably better bred people 
than are common at the North, and that they state as their ex- 
perience that they do not find that hospitality, that honesty, that 
guilelessness of dealing one with another among the people of 
the North, to which they are accustomed at home. It would 
remain a question, whether the southerners whom the reader has 
met are of a common or an exceptional class ; whether it is to 
slavery, or to some other circumstance, they owe their breeding ; 
whether this other circumstance is dependent on slavery, or 
whether it may exist (and, if so, whether, when it does exist, it 
produces the same fruit), quite independently of slavery. It 
can not be said that there are no gentlemen and gentlewomen 
of first water in free countries. A comparison, then, nuist be a 
compai'ison of numbers. I shall, by and by, offer the reader 
some assistance in making a comparison of this kind. And if, as 
we hear, free-labor society is still an experiment, and one of the 
results of that experiment is to be found in the low condition 
of portions of our community, and it is by comparing this result 



392 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

with the condition of the whites of the South that we must 
judge of the success of the experiment ; it may again be a ques- 
tion of numbers. As to experience of hospitality, that is not a 
question of quantity or of quality merely. I should wish to ask 
the reader's southern authorities, " where and with whom has 
your experience been, North and South ?" And if with a similar 
class and in similar circumstances, I should wish to ask further, 
" what do you mean by hospitality ?" 

In the previous chapter, I have shown that slavery does not 
prevent a condition of destitution of what at the North are 
deemed the ordinary comforts of civilized life, with a large part 
of the race supposed to be benefited especially by slavery ; 
whether it secures to it the supposed advantage in morals and 
manners remains to be considered. 

I tbink that the error which prevails in the South, with 
regard to the general condition of our working people, is much 
strengthened by the fact that a different standard of comfort is 
used by most persons at the South from that known at the 
North, and that used by northern writers. People at the South 
are content and happy with a condition which few accept at the 
North unless with great complaint, or with expressions of 
resignation such as are the peculiar property of slaves at the 
South. If, reader, you had been traveling all day through a 
country of the highest agricultural capability, settled more than 
twenty years ago, and toward nightfall should be advised by a 
considerate stranger to ride five miles further, in order to reach 
the residence of Mr. Brown, because Mr. Brown, being a well-to- 
do man, and a right good fellow, had built an uncommonly good 
house, and got it well furnished, had a score of servants, and 
being at a distance from neighbors, was always glad to enter- 



FORMULA FOR JUSTIFYING SLAVERY. 393 

tain a respectable stranger — after hearing this, as you continued 
your ride somewhat impatiently in the evening chill, what con- 
solations would your imagination jfind in the prospect before you? 
My New England and New York experience would not forbid 
the hope of a private room, where I could, in the first place, 
wash off the dust of the road, and make some change of clothing 
before being admitted to a family apartment. This family room 
would be curtained and carpeted, and glowing softly with the 
light of sperm candles or a shaded lamp. When I entered it, I 
could expect that a couch or an arm-chair, and a fragrant cup 
of tea, with refined sugar, and wholesome bread of wheaten flour, 
leavened, would be off'ered me. I should think it likely that I 
should then have the snatch of Tannhauser or Trovatore, which 
had been running faintly in my head all day, fingered clearly 
out to my entire satisfaction upon a piano-forte. I should then 
look with perfect confidence to being able to refer to Shakespeare, 
or Longfellow, or Dickens, if anything I had seen or thought 
during the day had haply led me to wish to do so. I should 
expect, as a matter of course, a clean, sweet bed, where I could 
sleep alone and undisturbed, until possibly in the morning a jug 
of hot water should be placed at my door, to aid the removal of 
a traveler's rigid beard. I should expect to draw a curtain from 
before a window, to lift the sash without effort, to look into a gar- 
den, and fill my lungs with fragrant air ; and I should be certain 
when I came down of a royal breakfast. A man of these cir- 
cumstances in this rich country, he will be asking my opinion of 
his fruits. A man of his disposition can not exist in the country 
without ladies, and ladies can not exist in the country without 
flowers; and might I not hope for the refinement which decks 
even the table with them ? and that the breakfast would be a 



394 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTEY. 

meal as well as a feed — an institution of mental and moral sus- 
tenance as well as of palatable nourishment to the body ? My 
horse I need harldly look after if he be a sound brute ; — good 
stables, litter, oats, hay, and water, grooming, and discretion in 
their use, will never be wanting in such a man's house in the 
country. 

In what civilized region, after such advice, would such thoughts 
be preposterous, unless in the slave States ? Not but that such 
men and such houses, such families and home comforts may be 
found In the South. I have found them — a dozen of them, delight- 
ful homes. But then in a hundred cases where I received such 
advice, and heard houses and men so described, I did not find one 
of the things imagined above, nor anything ranging with them. 
Between the Mississippi and the upper James River, I saw not 
only none of those things, received none of those attentions, but I 
saw and met nothing of the kind. Nine times out of ten at least, 
after such a promise, I slept in a room with others, in a bed which * 
stank, supplied with but one sheet, if with any ; I washed with 
utensils common to the whole household ; I found no garden, no 
flowers, no fruit, no tea, no cream, no sugar, no bread ; (for corn 
pone, let me assert, in parenthesis, though possibly, as tastes 
differ, a very good thing of its kind for ostriches, is not bread : 
neither does even flour, salt, fat, and water, stirred together 
and warmed, constitute bread ;) no curtains, no lifting windows 
(three times out of four absolutely no \viudows), no couch — if 
one reclined in the fomily room it was on the bare floor — for 
there were no carpets or mats. For all that the house swarmed 
with vermin. There was no hay, no straw, no oats (but mouldy 
corn and leaves of maize), no discretion, no care, no honesty at 
the there was no stable, but a log-pen ; and besides this, 



FORMULA FOE JUSTIFYING SLAYEEY. 395 

110 other oiit-liouse but a smoke-house, a corn-house, and a range 
of nio-o-er-houses. 

I do not exaggerate ; I can not but err, if at all, from a wish 
to avoid all possibility of exaggeration. I say nothing more, I 
am sure, than is unquestionably and undeniably true, and exactly 
true, on this subject. I have avoided generalizations, which 
would cover more ground than I can speak of with confi- 
dence from personal experience. As to causes, we may differ ; 
as to facts, we can not ; for if the reader should be incredulous, 
I will presently give him the means of satisfying himself, that 
after the experience and observation of others, who can not be 
supposed prejudiced unfavorably to the condition and character 
of the people of the slave country, there is nothing improbable in 
what I say, namely : that in nine tenths of the houses south of 
Virgiuia, in which I was obliged, making all reasonable endeavor 
to find the best, to spend the night, there were none of these 
things. And most of these houses had been recommended to me 
by disinterested persons on the road as being better than ordi- 
nary — houses where they " sot up for travelers and had things." 
From the banks of the Mississippi to the banks of James, I did 
not (that I remember) see, except perhaps in one oi" two towns, 
a thermometer, nor a book of Shakespeare, nor a piano-forte or 
sheet of music ; nor the light of a carcel or other good center- 
table or reading-lamp, nor an engraving, or a copy of any kind, 
of a work of art of the slightest merit. 

Most of these houses were, I should also say, the mansions of 
"planters," "slave owners," "cotton lords" of the "southern 
aristocracy." But I need not ring the changes. If tlie word 
"planter" comes with the same associations to the reader which 
it would have formerly brought to my mind, T need say no more 



396 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

of the different ideas which may be attached to the same words 
in the same great country. For when has the word " planter," 
in popular usage, been allowed to stand without the company of 
certain other words which hardly prepare most of us at the 
North for simple bacon and greens, pone and " coffee ;" which 
naked log-walls, swarming with bugs ; which naked " puncheon" 
floors; which feather beds, with but one sheet, in July, and 
windows without glass, in January, hardly satisfy with men and 
women who have got above rag-picking or charcoal-burning for 
their means of living at the North. It is my experience that the 
majority of "planters," however broad, generous, lavish, bounti- 
ful and luxurious may be their open-handed hospitality of char- 
acter, know of nothing better to which they can lift open their 
creaking doors in welcome to the stranger guest. 

Yet it is the popular opinion of the South, that the people who 
do the work of the North have less experience of comfort, not to 
say luxury, than these planters' " niggers." 

Now, if the reader finds my statements of the planters' real pov- 
erty incredible, or if he imagines ray experience a strangely unfor- 
tunate and exceptional one, I must beg him to review in connection 
the quotations given in full from southern authorities, and chiefly 
from the most determined defenders of slavery and advocates of 
its extension, southern born and southern bred, at pp. 166, 167, 
172, 173, 274, 280, 289, 295, 506, 510, 511, 514, 518, 520, 533, 
538, 544, 576, 707, 708, 709, 710, "Seaboard Slave States." 
Compared with these he will find that my statements have been 
made cautiously and with intentional moderation, that my hap- 
penings were fortunate, my experience favorable. Let him also 
consult Sir Charles Lyell, or the journal of any traveler who has 
ventured beyond hotels without letters to "first family" planters. 



FORMULA FOR JUSTIFYING SLAVERY. 397 

I will here call upon just one more witness, whose evidence I cite 
at this point not merely because, in very few words, having refer- 
ence to the very heart of the planter's prosperity, it practically 
endorses all I have said, but for another reason which will pres- 
ently appear. 

"If one unacquainted with the condition of the Southwest were 
told that the cotton-growing district alone had sold the crop for fifty 
millions dollars for the last twenty years, he would naturally conclude 
that this must be the richest community in the world, * * * But 
what would be his surprise when told that so far from living in pal- 
aces, maay of these planters dwell in habitations of the most primitive 
construction, and these so inartificially built as to be incapable of de- 
fending the inmates from the winds and rains of heaven. That instead 
of any artistical improvement, tliis rude dwelling was surrounded by 
cotton fields, or probably by fields exhausted, washed into gullies, and 
abandoned ; that instead of canals, the navigable streams remain un- 
improved, to the great detriment of transportation ; that the common 
roads of the country were scarcely passable ; that the edifices erected 
for the purposes of learning and religion were frequently built of logs 
and covered [roofedj with boards." — J". 0. B. De Bow, Resources of the 
South, vol. ii. p. 113. 

Do a majority of northern working men dwell in habitations 
having no more elements of comfort, even taking difference of 
climate into consideration, than Mr. De Bow ascribes to the resi- 
dences of the slaves' owners ? No northern man can for a moment 
hold such an opinion. What, then, becomes of the theory by 
which the planters justify slavery to themselves and recommend 
it to usf If the ennobling luxuries which the institution of sla- 
very secures to the " superior class," and by which it is supposed 
to be "'qualified for the higher duties of citizenship," are, at the 
most, sugar, instead of molasses, in its coffee ; butter, with its pone; 
cabbage, with its bacon, and two sheets to its bed — and the trav- 
eler who goes where I traveled, month after month, with the same 
experience, can not help learning to regard these as luxuries indeed, 
— if " freedom from sordid and petty cares," and " leisure for intol- 



398 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

lectual pursuits," means a condition approaching in comfort that 
of the keeper of a light-ship on an outer-bar, what is the exact 
value of such words as "hospitality," "generosity," and "gallan- 
try." What is to be understood from phrases in such common 
use as "high toned," "well bred," "generous," "hospitable," and 
so on, when used in argument to prove the beneficence of slavery 
and to advocate its extension ? 

OF SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY. 

" Mr. Frederick Law Olmsted, after signalizing himself by two very 
wordy volumes, abounding in bitterness and prejudice of every sort, 
and misrepresentations upon the ' Seaboard Slave States,' finding how 
profitable such literature is in a pecuniary point of view^, and what a 
run is being made upon it throughout the entire limits of abolitiondom, 
vouchsafes us now another volume, entitled a ' Journey through Texas, 
or a Saddle-trip on the Southwestern Frontier.' Here, again, the op- 
portunity is too tempting to be resisted to revile and abase the men 
and the society whose open hospitality he undoubtedly enjoyed, and 
whom we have no doubt, like every other of his tribe travehng at the 
South, he found it convenient at the time to flatter and approve. We 
have now grown accustomed to this, and it is not at all surprising that 
here and there it is producing its effect in some violent exhibition of 
feeling like that displayed by our worthy old friend Dr. Brewer, of 
Montgomery count}^, Maryland, who persistently refuses, on all occa- 
sions, to allows a Yankee even to cross his fields, or like that of John 
Eandolpb, who said in the House, ' Mr. Speaker, I would not allow 
one of my servants to buy as much as a toot-horn from one of these 
people.' * * * 

" Somewhat further on the parties rest for the night. ' For this the 
charge was $1.25 to each person, including breakfast and horse-feed.' 
At the end of every page or two our tourist repeats these growlings 
over the enormous exactions. It is the refrain from one cover of the 
book to the other. What a series of martyrdoms. Could such a jour- 
ney by any possibility be made ' to pay ?' Perhaps, fritmd traveler, 
you had heard of the lavish hospitality of the South, and imagined that 
people there moved out upon the high road for the sole purpose of 
sharing the society which gentlemen, like yourself, could furnish, be- 
lieving every arrival to be an act of special providence ! When you 
offered to pay the w^oman on Red River, and ' feared she was offended 
by your otfering her money for her hospitaht}^,' you paid the highest 
comphment to the South, for heaven knows you would have had no 
such apprehension on the banks of the Connecticut." 



OF SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY. 



399 



I can not but be gratified that so much importance should 
have been attached to the preceding volume of this work as to 
induce the Superintendent of the Census to devote to its consid- 
eration a leading article in the first economico-political review of 
the country, and I can feel nothing but regret that he should be 
obliged to attribute to an unworthy niotive even those of my 
labo'^'s the result of which he does me the honor to designate as 
valuable and trustworthy. I have often had occasion to refer to 
Mr. De Bow, and I beheve have always done so in a manner con- 
sistent with the respect which I feel for the class of men among 
whom he has had the honorable ambition to rank himself. That 
a man while occupying a position which properly belongs to the 
most able and just-minded statistician in the country, should think 
it proper to write under his own name in the manner of which 
the above extracts are a sample, about a work which assumes to 
relate calmly and methodically, the result of a personal study of 
the condition of the people of a certain State, is a note-worthy 
circumstance in illustration of the present political history of our 
country. I cite them now, however, chiefly to show what need 
there is for a discussion upon which I propose to enter myself, 
little further than is necessary to enable me to clearly set forth 
certain facts, in their more important significance, the right of 
publishing which can hardly be denied me, in view of the insin- 
uations made by Mr. De Bow, who in this follows what has got 
to be a general custom of southern reviewers and journalists 
toward travelers with whose expressed judgments upon any 
matter observed within the slave States they differ. There are 
numerous homes in the South the memory of which I cherish 
tenderly. There are numbers of men in the South for whom I 
have a warm admiration, to whom I feel grateful, whose respect 



400 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

I wish not to lose. There are others for whom I have a quite 
different feeling. Of a single individual of neither class have I 
spoken in these three volumes, I believe, by his true name, or in 
such a manner that he could be recognized, or his home pointed 
out by any one who had not been previously familiar with it and 
with him, being, as a rule, careful to so far differ from the actual 
order of the events of my journey in narrating them, that facts 
of private life could not be readily localized. From this rule I 
do not intend now to depart further than is necessary to exhibit 
the whole truth of the facts to which I have referred, but since 
the charge of ingratitude and indelicacy is publicly made against 
me, as it has frequently been of late against better men, on simi- 
lar grounds, I propose to examine those grounds in the light of 
certain actual experiences of myself and others, and let it be 
judged whether there must always exist a peculiar moral obliga- 
tion upon travelers to be mealy-mouthed as to the habits of the 
people of the South, either on account of hospitality or in recip- 
rocation of the delicate reserve which, from the tenor of Mr. De 
Bow's remarks, it might be supposed was habitually exercised in 
the South with regard to the habits of their own people. These 
experiences shall be both special and general. What immedi- 
diately follows is of the former class, but, in the end, it will be 
found to have a general significance. 

IN OLD VIRGINIA. 

On a hot morning in July a northern traveler left the town of 
Lynchburg, the chief market-town of Virginia tobacco, and rode 
eastwardly toward Farmville. Suddenly taken severely ill, and 
no house being in sight, he turned from the road into the shade 
of the wood, dismounted, reclined against a sturdy trunk, took 



OF SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY. 401 

an anodyne, which he fortunately had with him, and at length 
found relief in sleep. Late in the day he awoke, somewhat re- 
covered, but with a sharp headache and much debilitated. He 
managed, however, to mount, and rode slowly on to find a shelter 
for the night. In half an hour the welcome sight of an old 
plantation mansion greeted his eyes. There was a large court, 
with shade trees and shrubbery between the road and the house, 
and iu the corner of this court, facing the road, a small ware- 
house or barn, in and around which were a number of negroes 
moving casks of tobacco. A white man, evidently their owner, 
was superintending their labor, and to him the traveler applied 
for lodging for the night. 

" We don't take in strangers." 

The traveler informed the planter of his illness and inability to 
ride further. 

" You'll have to try to ride as far as the next house, sir ; we 
don't take in travelers here," was the reply. 

" Really I don't feel able. I should not like to put you to in- 
convenience, sir, but I am weak and faint. My horse, too, has 
eaten nothing since early in the morning." 

" Sorry for you, but we have no accommodations for travelers 
here," was the only reply, and the planter stepped to the other 
side of a tobacco cask. 

The traveler rode on. About half an hour afterward he 
came in sight of another house. It was at a distance from the 
road, and to reach it he was obliged to let down and put up again 
three different sets of fence-bars. The owner was not at home, 
and his wife said that they were not accustomed to take in stran- 
gers. " It was not far to the next house," she added, as the trav- 
eler hesitated. 



402 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

He reached, at length, the next house, which proved to be the 
residence of another large tobacco planter, who sat smoking in 
its veranda, as the traveler rode near and made his petition. 

" We don't take in travelers," was again his answer. 

The sick man stated his special claims to kindness, and the 
planter good-naturedly inquired the particulars, asked how far he 
had ridden, where he got his horse and his dog, whither he was 
bound, and so on (did not ask where he was born or what were 
his politics). The traveler again stated that he was ill, unable to 
ride further, and begged permission to remain for the night under 
the planter's roof, and again the planter carelessly replied that 
they didn't take in travelers ; anon, asked how crops were look- 
ing further west, and talked o-f guano, the war news, and the 
prospect for peaches. It became dusk while the traveler lingered, 
and the negroes came in with their hoes over their shoulders from 
the fields across the road, but the planter continued chatting and 
smoking, not even offering the traveler a cigar, till at length the 
latter said, " If you really can not keep me to-night I must go 
on, sir ; I can not keep my horse much longer, I fear." 

" It is not far to the next house." 

" But I have already called at three houses to-night, sir." 

"Well, you see, since the railroad was done, people here don't 
reckon to take in travelers as they once did. So few come along 
they don't find their account in being ready for them." 

The traveler asked for a drink of water, which a negro brought 
in a calabash, bade good night to the planter, and rode on through 
the woods. Night presently set in ; the road crossed a swamp 
and w^as difficult to follow, and for more than an hour he rode 
on — seeing no house — without stopping. Then crossing water, he 
deliberated whether he should not bivouac for the nio-ht where 



OF SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY. 403 

he was. He had with him a few biscuits and some dried figs. 
He had not eaten hitherto, hoping constantly to come to a habi- 
tation where it might happen he could get a cnp of tea, of which 
he felt more particularly in need. He stopped, took some nour- 
ishment, the first he had tasted in fifteen hours, and taking also 
a little brandy, gained strength and courage to continue his jour- 
ney. A bright light soon cheered him, and after a time he made 
his way to a large white house, in the rear of which was an old 
negro woman stirring the contents of a cauldron which stood 
over the fire, by which he had been guided. The old woman 
had the appearance of a house servant, and he requested her to 
ask her master if he would favor him with lodging for the 
night. 

"Her master did not take in travelers," she said, "besides, he 
was gone to bed ;" and she stirred on, hardl}^ looking at the trav- 
eler till he put his hand in his pocket, and, holding forth silver, 
said, 

"Now, aunty, mind what I tell you. Do you go in to your 
master and say to him, ' There is a gentleman outside who says 
he is sick, and that his horse is tired and has had nothing to eat 
to-day; that he is a stranger and has been benighted, don't know 
the roads, is not well enough to ride further, and wants to know 
if you won't be so kind as to let him stay here to-night.' " 

"Yes, massa,ril tell him; twon't do no good, though, and he'll 
be almighty cross." 

She went in, returned after a few minutes, seized her paddle, 
and began stirring before she uttered the words, 

" Says yer ken go on to de store, he reckon." 

It was after ten o'clock when the traveler reached the next 

house. It stood close upon the road, and the voice of a woman 

18 



404 A JOUENEY IN THE BACK COUNTKY. 

answered a knock upon tlie door, and in reply to the. demand, 
said it was not far to the store, and she reckoned they accommo- 
dated travelers there. 

Finally, at the store, the traveler succeeded in getting admit- 
tance, was comfortably lodged and well entertained by an amiable 
family. Their kindness was of such a character that he felt in 
the position of an invited guest, unable to demand and unwilling 
to suggest any unvolunteered service. There was no indica- 
tion that the house was an inn, yet the traveler's experience 
left him little room to hesitate to offer money, nor Avas there 
the slightest hesitation on the part of the storekeeper in 
naming the amount due for the entertainment he had, or in 
taking it. 

If the reader will accept the travelers judgment of himself, 
he will assume that there was nothing in his countenance, his 
dress, his language, or his bearing, by which he could readily be 
distinguished from a gentleman of southern birth mid education, 
and that he was not imagined to be anything else, certainly not 
on his first inquiry, at an}^ one of the plantations where he was 
thus refused shelter. 

So far as this inhospitality (for this is, I think, what even 
the southern reader will be inclined to call it) needed explana- 
tion, it was supposed to be sufficiently given in the fact that the 
region had, by the recent construction of a railrorsd through it, 
approximated the condition of a w^ell-settled and organized com- 
munity, in which the movements of travelers are so systematized, 
that the business of providing for their wants, as a matter of 
pecuniary profit, can no longer be made a mere supplement of 
another business, but becomes a distinct occupation. 

This, then, but a small part of the whole land being thus 



SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY. 405 

affected by railroads, was an exception in the South. True; 
but what is the rule to which this is the exception ? 

Mr. De Bow says, that the traveler would have had no appre- 
hension that the offer of money for chance entertainment for the 
night furnished him at a house on the banks of the Connecticut, 
would give ofiense ; yet in the Connecticut valley, among peo- 
ple having no servants, and not a tithe of the nominal wealth of 
the Red Kiver planter, or of one of these Virginia planters, such 
has been a frequent experience of the same traveler. Nor has 
he ever, when calling benighted at a house, anywhere in the 
State of Connecticut, far from a public house, escaped beiug in- 
vited with cordial frankness to enjoy such accommodation as it 
afforded ; and this, he is fully convinced, without any thought in 
the majority of cases of pecuniary remuneration. In several 
instances a remuneration in money has been refused in a manner 
which conveyed a reproof of the ofier of it as indelicate ; and it 
thus happens that it was a common experience of that, of the 
possibility of which Mr. De Bow is unable to conceive, that led 
in no small degree to the hesitation upon which this very com- 
ment was made. 

This simple faith in the meanness of the people of the North, 
and especially of New England, is no eccentricity of Mr. De 
Bow's. It is in accordance with the general tone of literature 
and of conversation at the South, that penuriousness, disin- 
genuousness, knavish cunning, cant, and hypocrisy, are assumed 
to be the prevailing traits by which they are distinguished from 
the people of the South — not the poor people of New England 
from the planters of the South, but the people generally from the 
people generally. Not the tone of the political literature and of 
the lower class of the South, but of its wealthy class, very gen- 



406 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

erally, really of it& " better class." Mr. De Bow is himself the 
associate of gentlemen as well informed and as free from narrow- 
prejudices as any in the South. No New England man, who has 
traveled at the South, would be surprised, indeed, if^ at a table 
at which he were a guest, such an assumption as that of Mr. 
De Bow should be apparent in all the conversation ; that the gist 
of it should be supposed to be so well understood and gen- 
erally conceded^ that he could not be annoyed by its plainest 
statement. 

I need hardly say that this reference to Mr. De Bow is con- 
tinued, not for the purpose of vindicating the North any more 
than myself from a mistaken criticism. I wish only to demon- 
strate how necessary it must soon be to find other means for 
saving the Union than these common-place flatteries of southern 
conceit and apologies for southern folly, to which we have not 
only become so accustomed ourselves, as to hardly believe our 
eyes when we are obliged to meet the facts (as was my own 
case), but by which we have so successfully imposed upon our 
friends, that a man like Mr. De Bow actually supposes that the 
common planters of the teeming and sunny South, are, as a rule^ 
a more open-handed, libcraly and hospitable class than the hard- 
working farmers of the bleak and sterile hills of New England ; 
so much so, that he feels warranted not merely in stating facts 
within his personal knowledge, illustrating the character of the 
latter and arguing the causes, but in incidentally referring to 
their penuriousncss as a matter of proverbial contempts Against 
tli-is mistake, which, I doubt not, is accomplishing constant mis- 
chief to our nation, I merely oppose the facts of actual experi- 
ence. I wish to do so with true respect for the good sense of 
the South. 



SOUTHEEN HOSPITALITY. 407 

IN GENERAL. 

Presenting myself and known only in the cliaracter of a 
chance traveler, most likely to be in search of health, entertain- 
ment and information, usually taken for and treated as a south- 
erner, until I stated that I was not one, I journeyed nearly six 
months at one time (my second journey) through the South. 
During all this journey, I came not oftener than once a week, 
on an average, to public houses, and was thus generally forced to 
seek lodging and sustenance at private houses. Often it was 
refused me ; not unfrequently rudely refused. But once did I 
meet with what northern readers could suppose Mr. De Bow to 
mean by the term (used in the same article), "free road-side 
hospitality." Not once with the slightest appearance of what 
Noah Webster defines hospitality, the " practice of receiving or 
entertainiiio- strano-ers without reward." 

Only twice, in a journey of four thousand miles, made inde- 
pendently of public conveyances, did I receive a night's lodging 
or a repast from a native southerner, without having the exact 
price in money which I was expected to pay for it stated to me 
by those at whose hands I received it. 

If what I have just narrated had been reported to me before I 
traveled in the manner I did in my second journey at the South, 
I should have had serious doubts of either the honesty or the 
sanity of the reporter. I know, therefore, to what I subject my- 
self in now giving my own name to it. I could not but hesitate 
to do this, as one would be cautious in acknowledging that he 
believed himself to have seen the sea-serpent, or had discovered 
a new motive power. By drawing out the confidence of other 
travelers, who had chanced to move through the South in a 



408 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

manner at all similar, however, I have had the satisfaction of 
finding that I am not altogether solitary in my experience. 
Even this day I met one fresh from the Sonthwest, to whom, 
after due approach, I gave the article which is the text of these 
observations, asking to be told how he had found it in New 
England and in Mississippi. He replied : 



" During four winters, I have traveled for a business purpose two 
months each winter in Mississippi. I have generally spent the night 
at houses with whose inmates I had some previous acquaintance. 
Where I had business transactions, especially where debts v/cre due 
me, which could not be paid, I sometimes neglected to offer payment 
for my night's lodging, but in no other case, and never in a single 
instance, so far as I can now recollect, where I had offered payment, 
has there been any hesitation in taking it. A planter might refrain 
from asking payment of a traveler, but it is universally expected. In 
New England, as flir as my limited experience goes, it is not so. I have 
known New England farmers' wives take a small gr-atuity after lodging 
travelers, but always with apparent hesitation. I have known New 
England farmers refuse to do so. I have had some experience in Iowa ; 
money is there usually (not always) taken for lodging travelers. The 
principal difference between the custom at private houses there and in 
Alabama and Mississippi being, that in Iowa the farmer seems to 
carefully reckon the exact value of the produce you have consumed, 
and to charo-e for it at what has often seemed to me an absurdly low rate ; 
while in Mississippi, I have usually paid from four to six times as much 
as in Iowa, for similar accommodations. I consider the usual charges 
of planters to travelers extortionate, and the custom the reverse of 
hospitable. I knew of a Kentucky gentleman traveling from Eutaw 
to G-reensboro [twenty miles] in his own conveyance. He was taken 
sick at the crossing of the Warrior River. It was nine o'clock at 
night. He averred to me that he called at every plantation on the road, 
and stated that he was a Kentuckian, and sick, but was refused lodg- 
inpf at each of them." 



This the richest county of Alabama, and the road is lined with 
valuable plantations. 

The following is an extract from a letter dated Columbus, Mis- 
sissippi, November 24, 1856, published in the London Daily 
Ncivs. It is written by an Englishman traveling for commercial 



SOUTHERN HOSriTALTTY. 409 

purposes, and tells what he has learned by experience of the cus- 
tom of the country : 

"It is customary in traveling through this country, where towns ai-e 
few and taverns scarce and vile, to stop at the planters' houses along 
the road, and pay for your bed and board in the morning just as if you 
had staid at an inn. The custom is rather repugnant to our Old World 
notions of hospitality, but it appears to me an excellent one for Ijoth 
the host and his guest. The one feels less bored by demands upon his 
kindness, as soon as it ceases to be merely a kindness to couiply with 
them, and the other has no fear about intruding or being trouble- 
some when he knows he will have to pay for his entertainment. It 
is rarely, however, that the entree can be obtained into the houses of 
wealthy planters in this way. They will not be bothered by your 
visits, and if you apply to them, have no hesitation in politely pass- 
ing you on to such of their neighbors as have less money or more 
generosity." 

The same writer afterwards rehites the following experi- 
ence : 

" About nineteen miles from Canton, I sought lodging at nightfall 
at a snug house on the roadside, inhabited by an old gentleman and 
his two daughters, who possessed no slaves and grow no cotton, and 
whose two sons had been killed in the Mexican war, and who, with 
the loudest professions of hospitality, cautiously refrained from giving 
himself any personal trouble in support of them. He informed me that 
there was corn in the husk in an almost inaccessible loft, there was 
fodder in an un-get-at-able sort of a cage in the yard, water in a cer- 
tain pond about half a mile off, and a currycomb in a certain hole in the 
wall. Having furnished me wdth this intelligence, he left me to draw 
my own conclusions as to wliat my conduct ought to be under the 
circumstances." 

A naturalist, the author of a well known standard work, wlio 
has made sevcrd tours of observation in the slave States, lately 
confided to me that he believed that the popular report of south- 
ern hospitality must be a popular romance, for never, during all 
his travels in the South, liad he chanced to be entertained for a 
single night, except by gentlemen to whom he was formally pre- 
sented by letter, or who had previously been under obligations to 



410 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

liim, without paying for it in moiie}", and to an amount quite 
equal to tire value received. By the wealthier, a night's enter- 
tainment had been frequently refused him, under circumstances 
which, as must have been evident to them, rendered his further 
progress seriously inconvenient. Once, while in company with a 
foreign naturalist — a titled man — he had been dining at the inu 
of a small county-town, when a certain locally distinguished judge 
had seen fit to be eloquent at the dinner-table upon the advan- 
tages of slavery in maintaining a class of "high-toned gentle- 
men," referring especially to the proverbial hospitality of south- 
ern plantations, which he described as quite a bewilderment to 
strangers, and nothing like which was to be found in any coun- 
try unblessed with slavery, or institutions equivalent to it. It so 
happened that the following night the travelers, on approaching 
a plantation mansion in quest of lodging, were surprised to find 
that they had fallen upon the residence of this same judge, who 
recognized them, and welcomed them and bade them be at 
home. Embarrassed by a recollection of his discourse of hospi- 
tality, it was with some difhculty that one of them, when they 
were taking leave next morning, brought himself to inquire what 
he might pay for the entertainment they had received. He was 
at once relieved by the judge's prompt response, "Dollar and a 
quarter apiece, I reckon." 

It is very true that the general custom of the South which 
leads a traveler to ask for a lodging at any private house he may 
chance to reach near nightfall, and to receive a favorable answe? 
not merely as a fovor but as a matter of business, is a convenient 
one, is one indeed almost necessary in a country so destitute of 
villages, and where, oft" certain thorough ftires of our merchants, 
there are so few travelers. It is a perfectly respectable and en- 



OF SOUTHERN BKEEDING. 411 

tirely sensible custom, but it is not, as it is commonly ixspresented 
to be, a custom of hospitality, and it is not at all calculated to 
induce customs of hospitality with the mass of citizens. It is 
calculated to make inhospitality of habit and inhospitality of 
character the general rule ; hospitality of habit and of character 
the exception. Yet the common misapplication of the word to 
this custom is, so far as I can ascertain, the only foundation of 
the arrogant assumption of superiority of character in this respect 
of the southerners over ourselves — the only ground of the claim 
that slavery breeds a race of more generous and hospitable citi- 
zens than freedom. 

OF SOUTHERN BREEDING. 

The difficulty of giving any thing like an intelligent and exact 
estimate of the breeding of any people or of any class of people 
is almost insurmountable, owing to the vagueness of the terms 
which must be used, or rather to the quite different ideas which 
difterent readers will attach to these terms. The very word 
which I have employed to designate my present subject has 
itself such a varied signification that it needs to be defined at 
the outset. I mean to employ it in that sense wherein, according 
to Webster, it covers the ground of " nurture, instruction, and the 
formation of manners." It is something more than "manners and 
customs," then, and includes or may include qualities which, if not 
congenital, are equally an essential part of character with those 
qualities which are literally in-bred of a man. Such qualities are 
mainly the result of a chiss of circumstances, of the influence of 
which upon his character and manners a man, or a child grow- 
ing to a man, is usually unconscious, and of which he can not be 
independent if he would. 



412 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

The general difficulty is increased in dealing with the people 
of the slave States, because amono; themselves all terms definino; 
social rank and social characteristics are applied in a manner 
which can be understood only after considerable experience ; 
and also because the general terms of classification, always in- 
complete in their significance, fail entirely with a large class of 
southerners, whose manners have some characteristics which 
would elsewhere be thouo-ht "hioch bred," if thev had not other 
which are elsewhere universally esteemed low and ruffianly. 

I do not feel myself competent, therefore, to thoroughly 
analyze southern breeding ; but I propose, while giving my im- 
pressions for what they may be considered worth, and claiming 
but little value for them, to demonstrate clearly the error of cer- 
tain views on this subject, which have been popularly held at the 
South, and are still advanced with great confidence by many 
writers and orators. 

There are undoubted advantages resultino- from the effects of 
slavery upon the manners of some persons. The same results 
to manners, the same sort of breeding, I have thought that I 
perceived to have arisen in the free States, where a family has 
been educated with every advantage which wealth would be 
likely to secure, when judiciously used, in a frontier community. 
There is boldness, directness, largeness, confidence, with the 
eftect of t'he habitual sense of superiority to most of the commu- 
nity ; not superiority of wealth, and power from wealth merely, 
but of a mind well-stocked and refined by such advantages of 
education as only very unusual wealth can procure in a scat- 
tered and frontier community. When to this is added the 
effect of visits to the society of the wealthy of denser communi- 
ties; when refined and polished manners are grafted on a 



OF SOUTHERN BREEDING. 413 

uatural, easy abandon ; when there is high culture without eftem- 
inacy either of body or mind, as not unfrcquently happens, "vve 
find a peculiarly respectable and agreeable sort of men and women. 
They are the result of frontier training under the most favorable 
circumstances. In the class furthest removed from this on the 
frontier — people who have grown up without civilized social 
restraints or encouragements, and always under what in a well- 
conditioned community would be esteemed great privations — 
happens, on the other hand, the most disagreeable specimen of 
mankind that the world breeds ; men of a sort almost peculiar to 
America and Australia ; border ruffians, of whom the "rowdies" 
of our eastern towns are tame reflections. Cooper has well 
described the first class in many instances. I know of no picture 
of the latter which represents them as detestable as I have 
found them. 

The whole South is maintained in a frontier condition by the 
system which is apologized for on the ground that it favors 
good breeding. This system, at the same time, tends to concen- 
trate wealth in a few hands. If there is wisdom and great care 
in the education of a family thus favored, the result Avhich we 
see at the North, under the circumstances I have described, is 
frequently reproduced. This is the whole story of tlie advantages 
of slavery on manners. There are many more such fruits of 
frontier life at the South than the North, because there is more 
frontier life. There is also vastly more of the other sort, and 
there is everything between, which degrees of wealtli and degrees 
of good fortune in education would be expected to occasion. Tlie 
bad breed of the frontier, at the South, however, is probably far 
w^orse than that of the North, because any effort toward something 
better which it may be inclined to make, is so effectually snubbed 



414 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

in most cases by tlie tendencies described in a former chapter and 
because the frontier condition of the South is everywhere per- 
manent. The child born to-day on the northern frontier, in 
most cases, before it is ten years old, will be living in a well 
organized and tolerably well provided commuuity; schools, 
churches, libraries, lecture and concert halls, daily mails and 
printing presses, shops and machines in variety, having arrived 
within at least a day's journey of it ; being always within an in- 
fluencing distance of it. There are improvements, and commu- 
nities loosely and gradually cohering in various parts of the 
South, but so slowly, so feebly, so irregularly, that men's niinds 
and habits are knit firm quite independently of this class of 
social influences. 

There is one other grand ruling characteristic of the south- 
erner, which I here state as a fact, without pretending to state it 
clearly, and without undertaking to account for it, merely observ- 
ing that it is far more decided than the diff"erence of climate 
merely would warrant. It is intensity of impulse — willfulness. 
Every wish of the southerner is, for the moment at least, more 
imperative than of the northerner, every belief more undoubted, 
every hate more vengeful, every love more fiery. Hence, for 
instance, the scandalous fiend-like street fights of the South. 
If a young man feels oftended with another, he does not incline 
to a ring and a fair stand-up set-to, like a young Englishman ; 
he will not attempt to overcome his opponent by logic ; he will 
not be content to vituperate, or to cast ridicule upon him ; he is 
impelled straightway to kill him with the readiest deadly 
weapon at hand, and with as little ceremony and pretense of 
fair combat as the loose organization of the people against vio- 
lence will allow. He seems crazy for blood. Intensity of per- 



OP SOUTHERN KEEEDING. 415 

sonal pride — pride in anything a man has, or which connects 
itself with him, is more commonly evident; hence intense parti- 
sanship; hence rashness and overconfidence ; hence visionary 
ambition; hence assurance and violence in debate ; hence assur- 
ance in society : no matter how ignorant, how out of place, self- 
assurance seldom fails — partisan assurance, never. As self- 
appreciation is equally with deference a part of what we call 
good breeding, and as the expression of deference is much more 
easily reduced to a matter of manners and forms, in the common- 
place intercourse of society, than self-appreciation, this character- 
istic quality of the southerner needs to be borne in mind in con- 
sidering the port and manners he commonly has, and judging 
from them of the eftects of slavery. What a man shows that he 
thinks of himself is certainly of considerable consequence in esti- 
mating his value to others. But it is not every thing, or most 
essential. What he washes to be, labors to be, is, perhaps, of 
more consequence, and this is not to be as quickly and as cer- 
tainly understood from his own presentation of himself. 

This much I have written in explanation of what is usually 
assumed by southerners to be the common opinion of the supe- 
rior breeding of the South. I svill now consider wliat is the 
general fiict. 

In the North, at the Revolution, we scarcely had a distinct 
class corresponding to the lowest white class of Virginia, as de- 
scribed by Jefferson, our laborers being less ignorant and coarse 
in their habits, and associating mi"ich more familiarly with their 
betters. We have now a class more nearly corresponding to it, 
furnished by the European peasant immigration. It is, however, 
a transient class, somewhat seldom including trvo generations, 
and, on an average, I trust, not one. It is, therefore, practically 



416 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

not an additional class, but, overlooking the aged and diseased, 
a supplement to our lowest normal class. Out of twenty Irisli 
proletaires, of whose history for five years after their arrival and 
removal to the country 1 have been intimately cognizant, only 
two, both of whom were over fifty years of age, have lived out 
that period without beginning to acquire wealth and becoming 
superior in their ambition and habits to the lowest order, which 
I believe to include a majority of the whites in the plantation 
districts of the South.* Our lowest class, therefore, has a higher 
standard than the lowest class of the slave States. This, I un- 
derstand, is made very evident w^here the two come together at 
the West, as in southern Illinois. The very poorest and lowest 
New England women who go there, are frequently off'ended by 
tlie inconsiderate rudeness and coarseness of the women immi- 
grating from the South, and shocked by their "shiftless," com- 
fortless, vagrant habits, so much so that families have often re- 
moved, after having been once established, to escape being bored 
and annoyed by their southern-born neighbors. 

Referring to the lowest class, North and South, as the fourth, I 
class as third, the lowest rank in society, North or South, in 
which regard is had by its members to the quality of their asso- 
ciates from other than moral motives, or the prejudices of locality, 
race, sectarianism, and politics. In other words, that in which 
there is a distinct social selectiveness and pride. I think that 
everywhere in the free States men of this class would almost 
universally feel their position damaged — be a little ashamed — if 

* I fear that it must be confesed that this general rule has now a multi- 
tude of exceptions in our large towns, where, in New York, especially, we 
seem taking some.pains to form a permanent lower class. With the present 
great and apparently permanent falling oir in the European emigration, it 
can hardly last, however. 



OF SOUTHERN BREEDING. 417 

obliged to confess tliat they did not take a newspaper, or were 
unable to read it with a clear understanding of the intelligence it 
was intended to communicate. Allusions to the main facts of 
American history, to any clause of the Bible, to the provisions 
of the Constitution, and the more important laws, State and na- 
tional, would be understood in most cases by those whom I refer 
to as the third class in northern society. In few families of 
this class would you fail to find some volumes of the English 
poets, or some works of great novelists or renowned travelers. 
Nothing like this would you find in the third class at the 
South. 

The ratio of the number of the citizens who can not read at 
all to the whole, appears, by the census returns, to be only three 
times larger at the South than at the North. I believe it to be 
much greater at the South than these returns indicate.* The 
comparative cultivation of the third class "North" and of the 
third class " South," however, can not be at all judged from these 
statistics, supposing them correct. Those who can read and who 
do not read, or whose reading is confined within extremely nar- 
row limits, are a much larger number at the South than at the 
North, owing to the much poorer supply of books and news- 
papers which commerce can afford to put within the reach of the 
former. The census returns two million newspapers, for instance, 
printed annually in Virginia, one hundred and fifteen million in 

* The ratio of white illiterate to white population, per cent, as returned, 

. ( free States, 3.36 ^ ^, ^. , ^. , , , , . . 

IS, -j " R 97 ^ ^° native population, over twenty years old, it 

is. \ ^[^"^ ^^t^^^' ^tll (Census Compendium, pp. 152, 163.) The ability to 
' ( slave " 17.23 

merely read and write may itself be of little value, but 'the fact of a child's 
having had the pains-taking necessary to so far instruct him is in some de- 
gree a means of measuring his other inherited wealth, and thus his breeding. 



418 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

New York. Tliere is a post office to every fourteen square miles 
in New York, one to forty-seven square miles in Virginia ; over 
five hundred publishers and booksellers in New York, but forty 
in Virgina. Thirty thousand volumes in public libraries in Vir- 
ginia, eight "hundred thousand in New York. The area occupied 
by the population of Virginia being much the largest, it may be 
inferred that with the disposition and the ability to read any 
thing in particular, the Virginian of the third class will have to 
travel more than thirty times as far as the New Yorker to procure 
it. The same proposition will hold good in regard to most other 
means of cultivation, and the third class of the South generally 
has seemed to me to be as much more narrow-minded, rude, 
coarse, "dangerous," and miserable, than the third class of the 
free States, as the most sanguine friend of popular education 
could anticipate from these facts. 

The great difference in character between the third class of 
the South and that of the North, as indicated by their respective 
manners, is found in the much less curiosity and ready intelligent 
interest in matters which have not an immediate personal bearing 
in that of the South. Apathetic carelessness rather than simple 
indifference, or reckless incivility as to your comfort, is what 
makes the low southerner a disagreeable companion. It is liis 
impertinent shrewdness which makes you wish to keep the 
Yankee at a distance. The first seems without object, spiritless ; 
the latter keen to better himself, if with nothing else, with in- 
formation which he can draw from you, and by gaining your 
good opinion. 

The next or second class would include, both North and South, 
those with whose habits and character I am most fi\miliar, and 
of whom I can speak with the best right to confidence, It would 



OF SOUTHERN BREEDING. 419 

include in New England and New York the better educated far- 
mers — these owning, I should say, half the agricultural land — the 
permanently established manufacturers and merchants of moderate 
capital ; most of the shop-keepers and the better-educated master 
mechanics and artisan foremen ; most of the preachers, physi- 
cians, and lawyers (some ranking higher). It would correspond 
most nearly to what in England would be called the lower-middle 
class, but any higher grade being very ill-defined, existing dis- 
tinctly but in few localities, and rarely recognized as existing at 
all, it is in a great measure free from the peculiar vulgarity of its 
English parallel. 

The number of those at the South who correspond in educa- 
tion and refinement of manners and habits to the average of this 
class of the North, it will be evident, from a similar mode of 
reasoning to that before employed, must be very much smaller rela- 
tively, either to the territory or the whole white population of 
their respective regions. 

In the comparison commonly made by southern writers be- 
tween the condition of the people of a sparsely-settled country and 
another, it is usually assumed that the advantages of the latter 
are confined exclusively to towns, and to large and crowded 
towns. By contrasting the evils which concentrate in such 
towns with the favorable circumstances of life, where at least 
wood, water, and air arc abundant, and corn is usually compara- 
tively cheap, an argument of some force to ignorant people is 
easily presented. The advantages possessed by a people living 
in communities, or in moderately well occupied rural districts, 
who are even more free from the evils of great towns than their 
own people, are entirely overlooked by most southern writers. 
Such is the condition, however, of more white people in the free 



420 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

States than tlie whole white population of the shive States. A 
majority of our farmers' daughters can walk from their dwellings 
to schools of a quality such as at the South can be maintained 
not twice in five hundred square miles. These schools are prac- 
tically a part of their homes. Probably, in more than half the 
families of the South, the children of which are instructed to the 
least degree which would be considered "respectable," among 
this second class of the North, private governesses are obliged 
to be emploj^ed, or the children must be for many years at 
boarding-schools. We all know that the young women who go 
to the South, to meet the demand thus occasioned for home 
education, are not generally, though they may be in cases, our 
own most esteemed and successful instructresses ; and we also 
know from their report that their skill and labor has necessarily 
to be long chiefly employed in laying those simple foundation 
habits of instriictahiUtij^ which our northern children acquire 
imperceptibly from association with those of the neighborhood 
slightly in advance of them. Churches and the various sub- 
organizations centering in them, in which class distinctions are 
much lost sight of, to the great advantage of the manners of the 
lower classes, and little chance of injury to the higher; libraries, 
literary societies, lecture arrangements, dramatic and musical, art 
and scientific entertainments, and also highly educated profes- 
sional men, with whom, for various purposes, many persons are 
brought often in contact, are correspondingly more frequent at 
the North, correspondingly more accessible ; in other words, the 
advantages to be derived from them are cheaper, and so more 
influential on the manners of the people at large. 

The common opinion has been that the southerners or plant- 
ers of the class now under consideration, are more social, more 



OF SOUTHERN BREEDING. 421 

generous, more heartily kind and genial than northerners. Ac- 
cording to my experience, the reverse of all this is true, as a 
general rule. Families live so isolatedly at the South, that any 
social contact, out of the family, is of course much more eventful 
and stimulating than it is ordinarily at the North, and this 
accounts for the common opinion. I could not but thinh, how- 
ever, that most persons at the South looked to the voluntary good 
offices and conversation of others, both within and without their 
families, for their enjoyment of the world, much less than most at 
the North. It may be that when in towns they attach a greater 
value to, and are more careful to make use of the opportunities 
for social gathering afforded by towns, than are northerners. In 
towns they attach more consequence to forms, are more scru- 
pulous in matters of etiquette, more lavish in expenditure for 
dress, and for certain other things which are the signs of luxury 
rather than luxury itself, such as plate and fancy brands of wines. 
They make less show of fine art, and less pretense of artistic 
judgment. 

As to manner or deportment simply, with the same impulse 
and intention, that of the southerner will be best, more true, 
more quiet, more modestly self-assured, more dignified. I have 
said that the second class at the North is without the pervading 
vulgarity of the class to which it most nearly corresponds in 
England, the reason being that those which constitute it seldom 
wish or attempt to appear to belong to a superior class, not clearly 
recognizing a superior class. Individuals, however, very gen- 
erally have a strong desire to be thought better infoi-med, more 
ingenious, more witty, as well as more successful in their enter- 
prises than they are, and this stamps them with a peculiar 
quality of manners vulgarity called "smartness," the absence of 



422 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

which makes southern men and women generally much more 
agreeable companions than northerners of the same degree of 
education and accomplishments in other respects. Not but that 
snobs abound ; of these it will be more convenient to speak 
under the next division, however. 

We have next to consider the somewhat famous First Families. 

The traditional " family," stately but condescendinir, haughty 
but jovial, which has long kept open house for all comers on 
the old plantations of Virginia or South Carolina, is not wholly 
a myth. 

There really was something which, with some sort of pro- 
priety, could be termed a gentry in Carolina and Yirgina in 
their colony days ; yet of the names which are now thought 
to have belonged to it, as descended of brave, loyal, and 
adventurous cavaliers, some I once saw in London upon an 
old freight-list of a ship outward bound for Virginia, with the 
addition of tinker and tailor, poacher and pickpocket, all to 
be sold for life, or a term of years, to the highest bidder when 
they should arrive. 

What was properly to be termed the gentry in Virginia and South 
Carolina previous to the Revolution, was much smaller in number 
than is, I believe, commonly supposed. A large proportion of the 
families who composed it and who remained after the Revolution 
in the country (for many were tories), have since passed in all 
their branches through a poverty-stricken period, very dissipating 
in its influence upon hereditary breeding, novelists and dramatic 
old servants to the contrary notwithstanding. Many of those 
who have retained wealth and family pride in succession to the 
present time, have undeniably, from various causes, degenerated 
wofully in breeding. Coarse tastes and brutal dispositions can 



OF SOUTHERN BREEDING. 423 

not be disguised under a cavalier address, and the most assured 
readiness in the established forms of polite society. Of the real 
"old families" which remain at all "high bred" in their qualities, 
habits, and manners, I think it will be difficult for most readers 
who have not studied the matter at all to form a sufficiently small 
estimate. Some may be supposed, however. Associating with 
these are many new or recuperated families, in which there is also 
the best breeding, and in certain few parts or districts of the 
South, to be defined and numbered without difficulty, there is 
unquestionably a wealth]/- and remarkably generous, hospitable, 
refined and accomplished first class, clinging with some perti- 
nacity, although with too evident an effort, to the traditional 
manners and customs of an established gentry. I speak of them 
as a class with some question of the propriety of the term, for 
I do not much doubt that, as I was told at the South, old ladies 
may easily be found who will give you a complete census of the 
whole really " first class people," between the courses of a well- 
served dinner. 

There was a gentry in the North as well as in Virginia and 
Carolina in the colony period, though a less important and 
numerous one. As the North has been much more prosperous, 
as the value of its property has much more rapidly increased 
than that of the South, the advantages of wealth have, I believe, 
been more generally retained in families, and probably the number 
of those who could trace their breeding in an uninterrupted pa- 
rental influence from the colonial gentry, is now larger at the 
North than the South. 

Including new families, in whose habits and manners and con- 
versation the best bred people of Europe would find nothing more 
offensive and inhariuonioas with tliemselves than miujht be as- 



424 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

cribecl to local fashion or a desire to avoid the responsibility of 
social leadership, there is unquestionably at this time a very 
much larger number of thoroughly well bred and even high bred 
people in the free than in the slave States. It is equally certain 
that the proportion of such people to the whole population of 
whites is larger at the North than the South. 

The great majority of wealthy planters who at the present 
day assume for themselves a special social respectability and su- 
periority to the class I have defined as the second, are, as a gen- 
eral rule, not only distinguished for all those qualities which our 
satirists and dramatists are accustomed to assume to be the es- 
pecial property of the newly rich of the Fifth Avenue, but, as 
far as I have had opportunity to observe both classes, are far 
more generally and ridiculously so than the would-be fashionable 
people of New York, or of any other part of the United States. 
It is a part of the role they undertake to act, to be hospitable and 
generous, as it AVas lately that of our fops to be sleepy and critical. 
They are not hospitable and generous, however ; they know not 
the meaning of these terms. They are absurdly ostentatious in 
entertainment, and extravagant in the purchase of notoriety; 
possibly they have more tact in this than our Potiphars, but 
such has not been my personal observation. 

It is only at a few centers of commerce in the South that there 
is a permanent class of merchants and functionaries such as chiefly 
lead in nortliern society, and at these the characteristics of society 
are foreign. With the lawyers, merchants, and functionaries of 
the interior of the South, I have had little to do. I judge them 
to be superior very much to the planting class, on an average, yet 
in several instances where I have been introduced to them, I have 
found them to be of such habits and manners as would have pre- 



OF SOUTHERN BREEDING. 425 

vented them from occnpyiiig satisfactorily, similar stations at the 
North. Speaking of mercliants, I am reminded of an amnsing 
experience in my journey, which I relate not so much with the 
intention of instructing the reader as to the mercantile customs 
of the South, as for his entertainment. It illustrates, however, 
the wonderful liberality and hospitality to strangers which is sup- 
posed to be only born of slavery. 

Changing my plans of travel in Mississippi, I pursued a route 
to Virginia for which I had not previously provided myself with 
letters. The day after I reached Tuscaloosa I asked advice of 
the landlord of my inn as to how I could best obtain money by 
drafts on New York. He seemed surprised at the inquiry ; there 
was but one man who was known to do any thing like an ex- 
change business in the town. On this man, who had some title, 
judge or governor, I think, I accordingly called. He told me 
that he was in the habit of selling drafts on New York ; they 
had a certain value when any one wished to pay a bill there. I 
stated my circumstances, and with much difficulty got him to 
examine various letters which I carried with me ; some of them 
were from distinguished men, both of the North and South, with 
whom he professed to have an acquaintance. He did not for 
a moment doubt that I was the man I assumed to be, or that 
I was " good" for a much larger amount than I desired him to 
favor me with. He politely informed me that he did not make a 
business of furnishing money to travelers; and when I asked if 
he could not recommend me to some one in the town who would 
so far accommodate me, he said that he did not think I would 
find any one to do so. I reminded him that this would leave me 
in a very unpleasant predicament. He was sorry for it, he re- 
plied, but he did not see that he could help it, and as he had 



426 A JOURNEY IK THE BACK COUNTRY. 

other business he would wish me good morning. I called with 
no better success upon two merchants, and then making a close 
calculation, I concluded that with good luck I could pay my way, 
by traveling in the most carefully frugal manner on the course I 
intended pursuing, to Chatannooga in Tennessee, and that by the 
time I reached that point I might expect to be supplied with 
funds in answer to a letter. 

I succeeded in reaching Chatannooga, but with quite an empty 
purse. My letters informed me that I was accredited to the post- 
master. This gentleman received me cordially, and at once 
offered to introduce me to the bank. At the bank, after a little 
general conversation with a polite cashier, I asked him to cash a 
draft on New York for two hundred dollars. He withdrew, and 
presently desired to see the postmaster in a private apartment. 
Soon after this, I was called in and presented to the president, who, 
after some polite inquiries about my health, wished to know Avhat 
friend I had in town who could identify me. None, but here 
was the postmaster with a letter — Ah ! but what assurance had 
they — (that this letter had not been sent the postmaster by an 
accomplice, he meant); how, in fact, it was mildly asked, was it 
to be known that I was not a swindler? I presented a circular 
letter of credit of Duncan, Sherman & Co. on their Mexican 
correspondents, and a general letter of credence by the Gov- 
ernor of New York. But who knew their signatures to be gen- 
uine, who could identify me as the Frederick Law Olmsted spoken 
of in them ? I offered to show various letters of introduction, 
and twenty letters received by me at post offices on the route 
which I alleged that I had followed from Mexico ; I proposed to 
show the marks on my linen, my engraved cards, my Mexican 
passport. But how were they to be made secure that I came 



OP SOUTHERN BREEDING. 42Y 

honestly by these things ? It was ray intention to remain a day 
or two, would I be so good as to leave my letters and papers, and 
allow them time for consideration ? 

When I called again at the banking establishment, which was 
a very commodious and handsome one, the cashier received me 
with consideration. They had had a meeting of their directors, 
he said, at which my request had been the subject of debate, and 
it had been determined, inasmuch as it seemed that I would not 
otherwise be able to pursue my journey, to cash a draft on New 
York for me, but the directors thinking that two hundred dollars 
was a larger amount than I should find absolutely necessary, he 
was only authorized to furnish me with one hundred, which he 
accordingly did in new notes of the bank. 

I was subsequently kept in funds by southern bank-notes, 
bought in New York and sent by mail to a designated point on 
my route. 

Of course, there was nothing wrong in all this — or if there 
was, it was with myself and my friends — but if a southerner had 
had anything like such an experience in New England, would he 
have said nothing about wooden nutmegs, and so forth ? Com- 
parisons of this kind are anything but agreeable to draw. They 
will be necessary, however, and it will be necessary that the re- 
moval of much popular delusion be seriously and systematically 
undertaken, if the future discussion of the slavery question is 
to have the character which, of late, southern writers have at- 
tempted to give it. I find no more foundation for tlio assumption 
of a greater habitual liberality or a more thorough -going honesty 
than of a more general hospitality having been produced by slav- 
ery, even upon the planters, than exists among ourselves. To say 
nothing more of my personal <xperioncc, I will droj) this disagree- 



428 



A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 



able subject after giving two short paragraphs from southern 
newspapers, and a third, merely by way of explanation, from a 
foreign periodical. 

RKLIGIOUS CONTRIBUTIONS. 

" In lookino- over the annual statement of the Board of Foreign Mis- 
sions there il a fact that strikes us painfully. By summmg up the 
S contributions of the Synod of Vuginia, we find them to be 
Is 475 65 Those of the Synod of North Carolina amount to $o,000 90 
By referring to the repoit of contributions from New York we find 
S; tKst Church f . Philips') has given $6 386 60 and_tl^J^i^ 
avenue and Nineteenth street (Dr. Alexanders), $7,648 74— eacn ot 
them mSre than aU the churches in both of these Synods! Brethren, 
why i?tWs ? Is one church in New York richer than both these large 
rndyosperous Synods? Why, then, this ^^otT -Rxchmond Central 
Herald. 

THE HONEST PLANTER AT HOME. 

" The editor of Tlie Savannah Republican is in receipt of a letter from 
one of the cotton manufacturing companies in Georgia, mentionmg th« 
purchase of a crop of cotton at Macon, which from actual weight 
contained fifty-five per cent, of sand, leaving but forty-five per cent, ot 
cotton." 

THE HONEST PLANTER ABROAD. 

Ten Million Dollars Per Annum. 

" When the spinner comes to open and inspect his purchases at the 
mill he frequently finds concealed therein substances which are cer- 
tainly not cotton. Formerly flint stones were the principal articles 
selected as substitutes ; and the manufacturer used often to discover 
that instead of the " fair bowed" which he had bought and paid for, he 
was favored with a considerable weight of geological specimens. But 
it seems at length to have struck certain individuals on the other side 
of the Atlantic°that this was at best but a coarse and vulgar fraud, un- 
worthy of an enlightened age and people, and that it was possible to 
carry out the principle of sophistication on a far more extended scale, 
and in a much more refined manner. ^ • . ■, r 

Accordinoly the system of " sanding sprung up, and instead ot 
bales consistincr of American cotton they are frequently found to con- 
sist of America itself, to the extent of ten, twenty, or in many instances 
of more than thirty per cent. u ■ ■ .a 

The extent to which this practice has reached may be imagined, 
when it is known that, taking the adulteration at ten per cent, on the 



SANDED COTTON. r429 

import of the last crop, which is stated to be a very low estimate, a 
quantity of sand equal in weight to more than two hundred thousand 
bales, or forty thousand tons, is found to have been bought and paid 
for as cotton by G-reat Britain, at an expense of upwards 0/ £2,000,000 
sterling ; and that there are now lying at Liverpool at least one hun- 
dred thousand bales of this sanded cotton which spinners will not buy 
at any price. 

But it may be asked, " can not they purchase it at an allowance in 
price proportionate to the amount of adulteration ?" To this it must 
be answered that cotton is now bought by sample and not by inspec- 
tion of the bulk of the article, which indeed would be almost imprac- 
ticable from the nature of the packages and other causes. When the 
cotton is warehoused, on its arrival from abroad, a sample is taken 
from each of the bales, but these are pressed so hard that it is impossi- 
ble to penetrate more than a few inches into them. If, therefore, as 
is generally the case, the surface layer be clean cotton, it is evident that 
the sample can be of no value as an index of quality ; but supposing 
the sample when first drawn to be fair, in the very act of drawing, 
and at every subsequent examination it is liable to lose some of the 
sand which it contains, and very shortly to become nothing better than 
" a delusion, a mockery and a snare." 

This sandy adulteration, too, is more difficult to deal with than the 
simpler one before mentioned : when stones are found in cotton bales, 
it is at once evident that they have no business there ; they were not 
represented in the sample, and were, therefore, not expected ; conse- 
quently an affidavit is made of their presence, and a claim for compen- 
sation is preferred. It is true that a spinner has occasionally suffered 
the inconvenience of having his mill burned down, in consequence of 
contact between a flint and the iron machinery ; but as this is not of 
very frequent occurrence, it may, peihaps, be taken out of the account. 

But as regards sand, which is nominally, if not actually or fairly, 
represented in the sample, it is plain that if the spinner make a claim 
on this score, he is liable to be told that the price he paid was calcu- 
lated upon the fact of the presence of this sand, and that it would be 
a point of no small difficulty to settle such a claim equitably if allowed 
at all. No wonder, therefore, that there are so many bales of cotton 
at Liverpool which manufacturers decline to touch. 

The money actually paid to America for this stuff does not represent 
the extent of the evil ; freight, warehouse rent, and other charges are 
all incurred on this mass of useless earth, just as though it were what 
it ought to be ; to say nothing of the damage caused to machinery, and 
the detriment to the health of the work-people in factories wlun-e the 
adulterated cotton is used. 

This fraud has assumed such proportions that active steps are taking 
for its abatement. It is clear that the check must ultimately come 
from the consumer, for as long as a market exists for such cotton, so 
long will people be found to supply it. Whatever may be the result 
of the means adopted with a view to the suppression of this gigantic 



430 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

swindle, it can not be denied that its perpetration is a strong argument 
against our remaining, longer than can be avoided, dependent upon 
one country for the largest supply of so important an article as cotton. 
It is stated by those whose assertions are worthy of respect, that 
cotton could be grown in Africa, and laid down in England at con- 
siderably lower prices — quality for quality — than that brought from 
New Orleans. No doubt time and capital are requisite to render Af- 
rica to any extent available as a source of supply ; but most certainly 
£2,000,000 sterling might have been far better spent in this directiuu 
during the past year, than in paying for an enormous quantity of use- 
less and mischievous rubbish, and in thus helping to^ encourage and 
support a shameful and systematic fraud." — C. P. William. 



CHAPTER X. 

THE DANGER OF THE SOUTH. 

" Before the advent of modern science, any idea of systematic laws of 
human improvement would have been deemed alike impossible and absurd; 
but the constant observation of facts, the exact statistics recorded, the pro- 
grass of science in all departments, has made it possible to conceive of, and 
probable that there actually exist uniform laivs of social movements^ based 
upon any given condition of society. If the elementary social condition be 
different in regard to religion, government, arts, science, industry, the result- 
ing movements of society will be different. Hence, when we have ascer- 
tained by accurate observation upon and record of the social phenomena, 
that the social movement is uniformly in a certain direction, and that certain 
results uniformly follow, we shall* know in what elements the conditions of 
society must be changed, in order to change the results. Hence, when this 
law of social movements is ascertained, the philanthropist, legislator, and 
jurist will know precisely what must be done, and how in order to remove 
the evils, or reform the wrongs, or produce the results they desire. They 
will know that certain elementary conditions of society must be changed, and 
they well know that by removing temptations, or lajnng restraints, or en- 
lightening the mind, or changing the course of industry, or producing new 
arts, they will change the social tendency, and thus change the results. 
* * * Society, or that part of it which thinks and acts, can change the re- 
sults by changing the elementary conditions which produce them. "When 
you know exactly what the change ought to be, it is not very difficult to pro- 
duce it ; nor does it follow that because a thousand crimes must be committed 
in Ohio, that a thousand particular individuals must commit them. It is true 
that the individual frequently acts from motives, but is it not just as true 
that the individual frequently seeks these motives, and presents them to 
himself" — From the Eej^ort of the Ohio State Commissioner of Statistics, 
1859. 

" If there is a lirst principle in intellectual education it is this — that the 
discipline which does good to the mind is that in which the mind is active, not 



432 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

that in which it is passive. The secret for developing the faculties is to 
give them much to do, and much inducement to do it. — MtWs FoUiical 
Economy. 

The field-hand negro is, on an average, a very poor and very 
bad creature, much worse than I had supposed before I had seen 
him and grown familiar with his stupidity, indolence, duplicity, 
and sensuality. He seems to be but an imperfect man, incapable 
of taking care of himself in a civilized manner, and his presence 
in large numbers must be considered a dangerous circumstance 
to a civilized people. 

A civilized people, within which a large number of such crea- 
tures has been placed by any means not within its own control, 
has claims upon the charity, the aid, if necessary, of all other 
civilized peoples in its endeavors to relieve itself from the danger 
which must be apprehended from their brutal propensities, from 
the incompleteness of their human sympathies — their inhu- 
manity — ^from their natural love of ease, and the barbaric want 
of forethought and providence, which would often induce des- 
perate want among them. Evidently the people thus burthened 
would have need to provide systematically for the physical 
wants of these poor creatures, else the latter would be liable to 
prey with great waste upon their substance. Perhaps the very 
best thing to do would be to collect them into small herds, and 
attach each herd to a civilized family, the head of which should 
be responsible for its safe keeping. Such a superintendent 
should of course contrive, if possible, to make his herd con- 
tribute in some way to the procuring of its necessary sustenance ; 
and if, besides this, he even turned their feeble abilities to such 
good account by his superior judgment, that they actually 
procured a considerable surplus of food and clothing for the 



THE DANGER OF THE SOUTH. 433 

benefit of others, should not Christendom applaud and en- 
courage his exertions, even if a certain amount of severity and 
physical constraint had been found necessary to accomplish this 
success I 

Let us endeavor to assume a similar difficulty for ourselves. 
Let us suppose that a large part — the proportion varying with 
the locality — of our own community should next year suffer from 
some new malady, the result of which should in no case be fatal, 
but which should, like the goitre of Savoy, leave all who were 
affected by it permanently injured in their intellects, with dimin- 
ished bodily activity, and fiercer animal propensities. (I take this 
method of stating the case, because some of us who only see the 
negro as he exists at the North might find it difficult to imagine 
him as he is known to the planters.) 

Suppose, further, that this malady should be confined to certain 
families, as if its seed had been received hundreds of years ago 
by numerous individuals, and only their descendants (but all of 
these to the most distant trace of the blood), now suffered from 
it. Also, that some of our doctors should be of the opinion that 
the effects of the malady upon the intellect would descend to the 
children, and to all descendants of those who suffered. Suppose 
that these unfortunates should be subject to certain hallucinations, 
that they should be liable to think themselves sane and quite 
able to take care of themselves, and that when possessed with 
these ideas that they should be quite cunning and dangerous in 
attempting to exercise the usual prerogatives of sane men. 

What should we do with them ? 

Finding them ordinarily tractable and sensible enough, after 
all, to yield readily, if not cheerfully, to superior force, we might 



434 A JOURXEY IN THE BACK COUXTRY. 

herd them together on a sort of farm-hospitals, and let them earn 
their living, giving especially capable men charge of many, and 
rewarding them with good salaries, and ordinary small farmers, 
smaller numbers, with smaller compensations for overseeing them? 

Of course, we should place every possible legislative guard and 
check upon these superintendents and overseers to secure fair and 
honest dealing, to prevent them from raaking pei'quisites for them- 
selves at the expense of a reasonable comfort in their institutions. 
Careful instructions to secure economical sustenance, and how to 
turn such labor as could be got from the unfortunates to the best 
account, in defraying the cost of their keeping, would also be 
framed by talented men and furnished each keeper. 

And having regard to national wealth, to the temporal good 
of the commonwealth, this is about all that common sense would 
lead us to do, at least through the agency of government. 

Is this all, reader ? 

You have too much overlooked our small mattei-s of State, if 
yoni think so. We have a few crazy people, a few fools, not 
enough to be a matter of much consideration to our statesmen 
or legislators, yet we have a State system in our dealing with 
them, such as it is, and such as it is, it puts our dealing with 
them on a little difi'erent footing than would the system I have 
above imagined. What I have imagined is not quite all we have 
for some time been in the habit of doing when we did anything 
with this class. And judging from what we have done, it does 
not seem as if it would be all that we should do in such an 
emergency as I have supposed, engaging as it would all the 
talent of the country to diminish as much as possible the neces- 
sary results of the calamity. 



THE DANGER OF THE SOUTH. 435 

We should, it appears, call upon our learned doctors eagerly to 
study ; we should each of us eagerly observe for ourselves whether 
the fearful infirmity by ^Yhich so many were incapacitated for 
their former usefulness, were not only absolutely incurable, but also 
absolutely not possible to be alleviated. And if our observation 
should satisfy us, if our doctors could not den}- that, with judi- 
cious treatment, a considerable alleviation could be effected, so 
much so indeed, that with a very large part a close approxima- 
tion to the normal condition of sane and capable mankind could 
be obtained, there are doubtless those amongst us who would 
think this a dangerous and an infidel presumption. Just as every 
year some miserable wretch is found in our dark places to have 
a crazy father or brother whom he keeps in a cage in his garret, 
and whose estate he takes care of, and who is of the opinion that 
it will be of no use, but, on the contrary, a manifest defiance of 
Divine Providence, and most dangerous to life and property to 
let this unfortunate out of his cage, to surround him with com- 
forts, and contrive for him cheerful occupation, as our State 
requires shall be done. But would the average common sense 
and humanity of the people of the free States allow them to refuse 
all reduction from their usual annual incomes ; refuse to suffer 
all necessary addition to their usual taxes ; refuse to burden their 
minds with the difficulties of the all-absorbing problem, in order 
to initiate a remedial system ? Our worst and most cowardly leg- 
islature would never dare adjourn leaving this duty incompletely 
performed. There are thousands on thousands of our citizens who 
would not only spare from their incomes, but would divide their 
estates for such a purpose. There is not a county that would 
not submit to the highest war taxes for it. 

Suppose that the doctors and that the universal observation of 
19* 



436 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

the community sliould determine that the defective class were 
not only capable of being improved, but that so far as their 
limited intellects permitted, the laws of improvement were the 
same for them as for healthy men ; that they were found to be 
influenced by a liking for food and drink, for the society of 
each other and of sane men, for the admiration and respect of 
each other and of sane men, for their ease, for dancing, for music 
and other amusements ; and that their imperfect natures could 
be acted upon, drawn out and enlarged by means of these likings. 
Suppose that it were found that nearly all of them had still some 
knowledge of religion, that although they were inclined some- 
times to consider sane men as their enemies, they were still, in 
most cases, by judicious play upon their inclinations and disin- 
clinations, capable of being trained quite beyond the most saga- 
cious of our domestic animals, even to read intelligently. Should 
we, because there were so many of them, go back two hundred 
years in our civilization, denying ourselves the addition which 
this capacity would give to their powers of usefulness, and conse- 
quently of economy of maintenance ; denying them the advan- 
tages for improvement which we now in every State give to our 
hopelessly insane, to our blind and mute, to our fools, to our 
worst and most dangerous criminals ? 

Why do we not pass laws forbidding criminals and maniacs to 
read ? Our fathers did not allow them to read when negroes 
were introduced in Virginia. But every man among us whom 
we call well informed, now knows that it is a profitable business 
for the State, which has so little profitable business, even to pro- 
vide teachers and books for a portion of her criminals, to allow 
books and encourage reading with all. To provide books, to 
provide physicians, to provide teachers, to provide halls and gar- 



THE DANGEE OF THE SOUTH. 437 

dens of recreation, as stimulants to liealtliful tlionglit for our 
madmen and onr fools ; to this the State is impelled equally by 
considerations of safety and of economy. Even Kentucky has 
its State institution for the development of manhood in fools 
born of white women. 

Does not every such man know, too, that given an improv- 
able mind with a sound body, possessed of the natural instincts, 
the usual desires, appetites, aversions, no matter if, at starting, 
the being is even what we call an idiot, a driveling imbecile, 
disgusting all who see him, a sheer burden upon society, the 
process of making him clean in his habits, capable of laboring 
with a good and intelligent purpose, and of associating inoffen- 
sively with others, is just as certain in its principles and in its 
progress — infinite progress — as the navigation of a ship or the 
building of a house ? 

This is even so with a cretin, whose body is deformed beyond 
remedy, whose brain is contracted, whose face is contorted, whose 
limbs are half paralyzed, whose every organ is defective, and who 
has inlierited these conditions from goitrous parents and grand- 
parents. 

Dr. Seguin says: "The idiot wishes for nothing; he wishes 
only to remain in his vacuity." 

Even so thinks Dr. Cartwright of the negro, and surely nothing 
worse can be thought of him.* 

But Dr. Seguin adds : " To treat successfully this ill-will [in- 
disposition to take care of himself], the physician wills that the 
idiot should act and think himself, of himself and, finally, hy 

* "The negro, docile in subjection, attached like the household dog to his 
master, only in proportion to his intellect, in a far higher grade of being, is 
satisfied and happy in the half-civilizod condition which, with us, his imita- 
iivene-ss enables him to attain." — De Bow^s ResourMS, vol. ii., p. 203. 



4-38 A JOUIJNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY, 

himself. The incessant volition of the moral physician urges 
incessantly the idiot into the sphere of activity, of thinkino-, of 
labor, of duty, and affectionate feelings." 

Is there no such law of progression of capacity for the black 
imbeciles? All the laws of the South have the contrary aims; 
to withdraw them as much as possible from the sphere of self- 
willed acti\aty, thought, labor — to prevent the negro from think- 
ing by himself, of himself, for himself; and the principle on 
which these laws arc based is thus defined by Mr. De Bow : 

" The Ahnighty hns thought well to place certain of His creatures 
in certain y?.a:e(Z positions in this world of ours, for what cause He has 
not seen fit to make quite clear to our Hmited capacities ; and why an 
ass is not a man, and a man is not an ass, will probably forever remain 
a mystery." "God made the world; God gave thee thy place, 
my hirsute brother, and, according to all earthly possibilities and prob- 
abilities, it is thy destiny there to remain, bray as thou wilt. From the 
same great power have our sable friends, Messrs. Sambo, Cuffee & Co., 

received their position also Alas, my poor black brother, 

tlioii, like thy hirsute friend, must do thy braying in vain."* 

Are there laws on our statute books to prevent asses from 
being taught to read ? 

The Richmond Examiner says : 

" These immigrants do not, like our ancestors, fly from religious and 
political persecution; they come merely as animals in search of a richer 
and I'/esher pasture. They come to gratify physical want — for moral, 
intellectual, or religious wants they have not acquired. They will settle 
in lar^e masses, and, for ages to come, will practice and inculcate a 
pure (or rather impure) materialism. Mormonism is a fit expon'ent, 
proof and illustration of our theory. The mass of them are sensual, 
groveling, lovr-minded agrarians, and nine tenths of them would join 
the Mormons, or some such brutal, leveling sect, if an opportunity 
offered to do so. 

" European writers describe a large class of population throughout 
England an*! the Continent as being distinguished by restless, wander- 
ing, nomadic habits, and by a peculiar conformation of the skull and 
face. Animal and sensual nature largely predominates, with them, 
over the moral and intellectual. It is they who commit crimes, fill 

* "Resources," vol. ii., pp. 197, 198. 



THE DANGER OF THE SOUTH. 439 

prisons, and adorn the gallows. They will not submit to the restraints 
of law or religion, nor can they be educated. From their restless and 
lawless habits, we should infer they composed a large part of the 
northern immigration." 

If all this were true, and were felt by us to be true, should 
we think it necessary to put the minds of these beings in fetters ? 
Should we hold it to be dangerous if one should undertake to 
strengthen their intellects, to give them larger ideas ? 

If all the slaves in the United States were "real Congo nig- 
gers," which not one in one thousand is, and if all real Congo 
niggers were as incapable, and as beastly, and as savage in their 
propensities as the very worst of thera are asserted to be, would 
the method of dealing with them which the legislation of the 
slave States, and which a large part of the labor of the Congress 
and Executive of our confederation is directed to the purpose of 
perpetuating, be felt to be strictly in accordance with sound and 
well established economico-political principles ? The purpose of 
that legislation is avowed to be merely to secure safety with econ- 
omy. Would a project for establishing an institution planned upon 
the principles of the ancient Bedlam and the ancient Bridewell 
be felt to-day to be completely justified among us, by the state- 
ment that highwaymen and maniacs will endanger life and the 
security of our properly if they are not somehow taken care of? 

If there had been no Mettray with its Demetz, no Norfolk 
Island with its Machonochie, no Hanwell with its Connolly, no 
Abendberg with its Guggenbuhl ; if the courage, devotion, and 
labor of Pinel, Sicard, and Seguin had been in vain; if there had 
been no progress in the science of civilized society since the days 
of Howard, we might listen with merely silent sadness to such an 
excuse for debilitating the weak, for holding down the fallen ; for 
permitting brutal keepers to exasperate the mad and mercenary 



440 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTEY. 

nurses to stupefy the idiotic ; we might, if we saw it to be neces- 
sary to preserve a civilized community from destruction, even give 
its object our aid, but with the knowledge which in our time is 
everywhere else acted upon, it is impossible for us not to feel that 
such an argument is a specious and a fallacious one, and that no 
State can long act upon it with safety, much less with economy. 

And surely the system by which intellectual demands and am- 
bition are repressed in the negro is as little calculated to produce 
the security which is its object, as it is to turn his physical abilities 
to the most profitable use for his owner. How far it fails in this 
respect, the extra legal measures of safety and the semi-instinctive 
habits of unconscious precaution which pervade southern society 
evince. I say unconscious precaution, because southerners them- 
selves seem to have generally a very inadequate idea of the in- 
fluence of slavery upon their habits in this way, and this is very 
natural. 

"Every habit breeds unconsciousness of its existence in the 
mind of the man whom it controls, and this is more true of 
habits which involve our safety than of any others. The weary 
sailor aloft, on the lookout, may fall asleep ; but, in the lurch of 
the ship, his hands will clench the swaying cordage only the 
more firmly, that they act in the method of instinct. A hard- 
hunted fugitive may nod in his saddle, but his knees will not un- 
loose their hold upon his horse. Men who live in powder-mills 
are said to lose all conscious feeling of habitual insecurity ; but 
visitors perceive that they have acquired a constant softness of 
manner and of voice. 

If a laborer on a plantation should insolently contradict his 
master, it may often appear to be no more than a reasonable pre- 
caution for his master to kill him on the spot; for, when a slave 



THE DANGER OF THE SOUTH. 441 

has acquired siicli boldness, it may be evident that not merely is 
his value as property seriously diminished, but that the attempt 
to make further use of him at all, as property, involves in danger 
the whole white community. "If I let this man live, and permit 
him the necessary degree of freedom to be further useful to me, 
he will infect with his audacity all my negro property, which will 
be correspondingly more difficult to control, and correspondingly 
reduced in value. If he treats me with so little respect now, what 
have I to anticipate when he has found other equally independent 
spirits among the slaves? They will not alone make themselves 
free, but will avenge upon me, and my wife, and my daughters, 
and upon all our community, the injustice which they will think 
has been done them, and their women, and children." Thus 
would he reason, and shudder to think what might follow if he 
yielded to an impulse of mercy. 

To suppose, however, that the master will pause while he thus 
weighs the danger exactly, and then deliberately act as, upon re- 
flection, he considers the necessities of the case demand, is absurd. 
The mere circumstance of his doing so would nourish a hopeful 
spirit in the slave, and stimulate him to consider how he could 
best avoid all punishment. Hence the instinct-like habit of pre- 
caution with individuals, and hence the frenzy which often seizes 
whole communities. 

But, " planters sleep unguarded, and with their bedroom doors 
open." So, as it was boasted, did the Emperor at Biarritz, last 
summer, and with greater bravery, because the assassin of Napo- 
leon would be more sure, in dispatching him, that there would be 
no one left with a vital interest to secure punishment for such a 
deed : and because, if he failed. Napoleon dare never employ 
such exemplary punishment for his enemies as would the planters 



442 A JOUKNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

for theirs. The emperors of the South are the whole free society 
of the South, and it is a society of mutual assurance. Against a 
slave who has tlie disposition to become an assassin, his emperor 
has a body-guard, which, for general effectiveness, is to the Cent 
Garde as your right hand is to your right hand's glove. 

It is but a few months since, in Georgia or Alabama, a man 
treated another precisely as Mr. Brooks treated Mr. Sumner — 
coming up behind him, with the fury of a madman, and felling 
him with a bludgeon; killing him by the first blow, however, 
and then discharging vengeance by repeated strokes upon his 
senseless body.^* The man thus pitifully abused had been the 
master of the other, a remarkably confiding and merciful master, 
it was said — too much so ; " It never does to be too slack with 
niggers." By such indiscretion he brought his death upon him. 

* The late Mr. Brooks' character should be honestly considered, now that 
personal enmity toward liim is impossible. That he was courteous, accom- 
plished, warm-hearted, and hot-blooded, dear as a friend and fearful as an 
enemy, may be believed by all ; but, in the South, his name is yet never 
mentioned without the term gallant or courageous, spirited or noble, is also 
attached to it, and we are obliged to ask, why insist on this ? The truth is, 
we include a habit of mind in these terms which slavery has rendered, in a 
great degree, obsolete in the South. The man who has been accustomed 
from childhood to see men beaten when they have no chance to defend 
themselves; to hear men accused, reproved, and vituperated, who dare not 
open their hps in self-defense or reply ; the man who is accustomed to see other 
men whip women without interference, remonstrance, or any expression of 
indignation, must have a certain quality, which is an essential part of per- 
sonal honor with us, greatly blunted, if not entirely destroyed. The same 
quality which we detest in the assassination of an enemy, is essentially 
constant in all slavery. It is found in effecting one's will witli another, 
when he can not, if he would, defend himself Accustomed to this in every 
hour of their lives, Southerners do not feel magnanimity and the " fair-play" 
impulse to be a necessary part of the quality of " spirit," courage, and noble- 
ness. By spirit they apparently mean only passionate vindictivenss of 
character, and by gallantry mere intrepidity. 



THE DANGEC OF THE SOUTH. 443 

But did his assassin escape ? He was roasted, at a slow fire, on 
the spot of the murder, in the presence of many thousand slaves, 
driven to the ground from all the adjoining counties, and when, at 
length, his life went out, the fire was intensified until his body was 
in ashes, which were scattered to the winds and trampled under 
foot. Then "magistrates and clergymen" addressed appropriate 
ivarnings to the assembled subjects. It was not thought indis- 
creet to leave doors open again that night. 

Will any traveler say that he has seen no signs of discontent, 
or insecurity, or apprehension, or precaution ; that the South has 
appeared quieter and less excited, even on the subject of slavery, 
than the North ; that the negroes seem happy and contented, 
and the citizens more tranquilly engaged in the pursuit of their 
business and pleasure ? Has that traveler been in Naples ? Pre- 
cisely the same remarks apply to the appearance of things there 
at this moment. The massacre of Hayti opened in a ball-room. 
Mr. Cobden judged there was not the smallest reason in the 
French king's surrounding himself with soldiers the day before 
the hidden force of insubordination broke forth and cast him forth 
from his kingdom. It is true, however, that the tranquility of 
the South is the tranquility of Hungary and of Poland, rather than 
of France or the Two Sicilies; the tranquility of hopelessness 
on the part of the subject race. But, in the most favored regions, 
this broken spirit of despair is as carefully preserved by the citi- 
zens, and with as confident and unhesitating an application of 
force, when necessary to teach humility, as it is by the army of 
the Czar, or the omnipresent police of the Kaiser. In Richmond, 
and Charleston, and New Orleans, the citizens are as careless and 
gay as in Boston or London, and their servants a thousand times 
as childlike and cordial, to all appearance, in their relations with 



444 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

them as our servants are with us. But go to the bottom of this 
security and dependence, and you come to police machinery such 
as you never find in towns under free government : citadels, sen- 
tries, passports, grape-shotted cannon, and daily public whippings 
of the subjects for accidental infractions of police ceremonies. I 
happened myself to see more direct expression of tyranny in a 
single day and night at Charleston, than at Naples in a week ; 
and I found that more than half the inhabitants of this town 
were subject to arrest, imprisonment, and barbarous punishment, 
if found in the streets without a passport after the evening "gun- 
fire." Similar precautions and similar customs may be discovered 
in every large town in the South. 

Nor is it so much better, as is generally imagined, in the rural 
districts. Ordinarily there is no show of government any more 
than at the North : the slaves go about with as much apparent 
freedom as convicts in a dock-yard. There is, however, nearly 
everywhere, always prepared to act, if not always in service, an 
armed force, with a military organization, which is invested with 
more arbitrary and cruel power than any police in Europe. Yet 
the security of the whites is in a much less degree contingent on 
the action of the patrols than upon the constant, habitual, and 
instinctive surveillance and authority of all white people over all 
black. I have seen a gentleman, with no commission or special 
authority, oblige negroes to show their passports, simply because 
he did not recognize them as belonging to any of his neighbors. 
I have seen a girl, twelve years old, in a district where, in ten 
miles, the slave population was fifty to one of the free, stop an 
old man on the public road, demand to know where he was 
going, and by what authority, order him to face about and return 
to his plantation, and enforce her command with turbulent 



\ \ 



THE DANGER OF THE SOUTH. 445 

anger, wlicn he hesitated, by threatening that she wonld have 
him well whipped if he did not instantly obey. The man 
quailed like a spaniel, and she instantly resumed the manner of 
a lovely child with me, no more apprehending that she had 
acted unbecomingly, than that her character had been influenced 
by the slave's submission to her caprice of supremacy ; no more 
conscious that she had increased the security of her life by 
strengthening the habit of the slave to the master race, than is 
the sleeping seaman that he tightens his clutch of the rigging as 
the ship meets each new billow. 

There is no part of the South in which the people are more 
free from the direct action of slavery upon the character, or 
■where they have less to apprehend from rebellion, than Eastern 
Tennessee. Yet, after the burning of a negro near Knoxville, a 
few years ago, the deed was justified as necessary for the main- 
tenance of order among the slaves, by the editor of a newspaper 
(the Register) which, owing to its peculiarly conservative char- 
acter, I have heard stigmatized as " an abolition print." " It 
was," he observed, " a means of absolute, necessary self-defense, 
which could not be secured by an ordinary resort to the laws. 
Two executions on the gallows have occurred in this county 
within a year or two past, and the example has been unavailing. 
Four executions by hanging have taken place, heretofore, in 
Jefferson, of slaves guilty of similar offenses, and it has produced 
no radical terror or example for the others designing the same 
crimes, and hence any example less horrible and terrifying would 
have availed nothing here." 

The other local paper (the Wku/), upon the same occasion, 
used the followino; lanornao-c : 

" We have to say, in defense of the act, that it was not per- 



446 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

petrated by an excited multitude, but by one thousand citizens — 
good citizens at tliat — who were cool, cahn, and deliberate." 

And the editor, who is a Methodist preacher, presently adds, 
after explaining the enormity of the offense with which the vic- 
tim was charged — " We unhesitatingly affirm that the punish- 
ment was unequal to the crime. Had we been there we should 
have taken a part, and even suggested the pinching of pieces 
out of him with red-hot pincers — the cutting off of a limb at a 
time, and then burning them all in a heap. The possibility of 
his escaping from jail forbids the idea of awaiting the tardy 
movements of the law." [Although one thousand trusty citizens 
volunteered to guard him at the stake.] 

How much more horrible than the deed are these apologies 
for it. They make it manifest that it was not accidental in its 
character, but a phenomenon of general and fundamental signifi- 
cance. They explain the paralytic effect upon the popular con- 
science of the great calamity of the South. They indicate a 
necessary tendency of people living under such circumstances to 
return in their habits of thought to the dark ages of mankind. 
For who, from the outside, can fail to see that the real reason 
why men, in the middle of the nineteenth century, and in the 
center of the United States, are publicly burned at the stake, is 
one much less heathenish, less disgraceful to the citizens than that 
given by the more zealous and extemporaneous of their journal- 
istic exponents — the desire to torture the sinner proportionately 
to the measure of his sin. Doubtless, this reverend gentleman 
expresses the uppermost feeling of the ruling mind of his com- 
munity. But would a similar provocation have developed a 
similar avenging spirit in any other nominally Christian or 
civilized people ? Certainly not. All over Europe, and in every 



THE DANGER OF THE SOUTH. 447 

free State — California, for significant reasons, temporarily ex- 
cepted — in similar cases, justice deliberately takes its course ; 
the accused is systematically assisted in defending or excusing 
himself. If the law demands his life, the infliction of unneces- 
sary suffering, and the education of the people in violence and 
feelings of revenge, is studiously avoided. Go back to the foun- 
dation of the custom which thus neutralizes Christianity among 
the people of the South, which carries them backward blindly 
against the tide of civilization, and what do we find it to be ? 
The editor who still retains moral health enough to be suspected — 
as men more enlightened than their neighbors usually arc — of 
hetrodoxy, answers. To follow the usual customs of civilization 
elsewhere would not be felt safe. To indulge in feelings of hu- 
manity would not be felt safe. To be faithful to the precepts of 
Christ would not be felt safe. To act in a spirit of cruel, incon- 
siderate, illegal, violent, and pitiless vengeance, must be per- 
mitted, must be countenanced, must be defended by the most 
conservative, as a " means of absolute, necessary self-defense." 
To educate the people practically otherwise would be felt to be 
suicidal. Hence no free press, no free pulpit, no free politics can 
be permitted in the South. Hence every white stripling in the 
South may carry a dirk-knife in his pocket, and play with a re- 
volver before he has learned to swim."* 

I happened to pass through Eastern Tennessee shortly after 
this tragedy, and conversed with a man who was engaged in it — 
a mild, common-sense native of the country. He told me that 
there was no evidence against the negro but his own confession. 
I suggested that he might have been crazy. " What if he was?" 
he asked, with a sudden asperity. What if he was, to be sure ? 
* From the Introduction to The En'GLIsumax in Kansas. 



448 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTET. 

The slaves who were brought together to witness his torture 
were not insane. They were at least capable of instruction. 
That day they were given a lesson ; were taught to know their 
masters better ; were taught that when ordinary and legal dis- 
cipline failed, resort would be had to more potent means of gov- 
erning them. A better informed man, having regard to the 
ignorance of a stranger, might have answered me : " It was of 
no consequence, practically, whether he were sane or mad. We 
do not wish our slaves to study the right and the wrong of every 
exciting occurrence. To say that being mad the negro was not 
responsible, therefore not guilty of a crime, therefore not to be 
punished, would be proclaiming to them that only that which is 
wrong is to be dreaded. Whatever oflfends us, whatever is 
against our will and pleasure, is what a slave must be made to 
dread." 

Constantly, and everywhere throughout the South, are there 
occurrences of this significance. I do not say as horrible, though 
no year in the last ten has passed without something as bad — 
but, constantly and everywhere, of the same nature, of the same 
impulse, the same reasoning, the same purposes, the same dis- 
regard of principles of society, which no people can ever set aside 
and not have reason to feel their situation insecure. It is false, 
it is the most dangerous mistake possible to assume that this feel- 
ing of insecurity, this annihilation of the only possible basis of 
security in human society, is, in the slightest degree, the result 
of modern agitation. It is the fundamental law of slavery, as 
distinctly appears in the decision of Justice Ruffin, of North Car- 
olina, in the case of the State vs. Mann.* The American system 
of slavery from its earliest years (as shown p. 496, " Seaboard 
* 2 Devereaux's North Carolina Reports, 263. 



THE DANGER OF THE SOUTH. 449 

Slave States"), and without cessation to the present time, has had 
this acconii)aninicnt. Less in the hist twenty years, if anythino-, 
than before. Would it not be more just to say that this element 
of the present system was the cause of agitation ? Must not the 
determined policy of the South to deal with slavery on the as- 
sumption that it is, in its present form, necessary, just, good, and 
to be extended, strengthened, and perpetuated indefinitely, involve 
constant agitation as a necessary incident of the means used to 
carry it out ? I do not say with you or with me, reader, but with 
a goodly number of any civilized community ? Do you not, who 
wish to think otherwise, consider that it will always require what 
you must deem a superior mind not to be overcome by incidents 
necessary to the carrying out of this determination ? And will 
not such agitation give renewed sense of danger, and occasion re- 
newed demands for assurance from us ? 

I have rcmai-ked before that in no single instance did I find an 
inquiry of the owner or the overseer of a large plantation about 
the poor whites of its vicinity fail to elicit an expression indicating 
habitual irritation with them. This equally with the polished and 
tranquil gentleman of South Carolina and the rude pioneer settler 
of Texas, himself born a dirt-eating sand-hiller. It was evident 
in most cases, and in one it was distinctly explained to me by a 
Louisianian planter (as narrated, p. 674, " Seaboard Slave States"), 
that the reason of this was not merely the bad effect upon the 
discipline of the plantation, which was had by the intercourse be- 
tween these people and the slaves, but that it was felt that the 
contrast between the habits of the former — most of the time idle, 
and when working, working only for their own benefit and with- 
out a master — constantly offered suggestions and temptations to 
the slaves to neglect their duty, to run away and live a vagabond 



450 A JOURNET IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

life, as these poor whites were seen to. Hence, one of the ac- 
knowledged advantages of very large and isolated plantations, and 
hence, in part, the desire of every planter to get possession of the 
land of any poor non-slaveholding neighbor. 

As few southern writers seem to have noticed this, I suppose that 
few southerners are aware how universal with planters is this feeling. 
My attention being early directed to the causes of the condition of 
the poor whites, I never failed to make inquiries of planters, and of 
intelligent men especially, about those in their neighborhood, and 
being soon struck by the constant recurrence of similar expres- 
sions with regard to them, I was the more careful to introduce 
the subject at every proper opportunity, and, I repeat, always with 
the same result. I am afraid that the feeling of the South to the 
North is (more or less defined in individual minds) of the same 
nature, and that the contiguity of a people whose laborers take 
care of themselves, and labor industriously without being owned — 
that intimate relations and intercourse with such a people can 
never be felt to be safe by slaveholders. That it must always be 
looked upon with apprehension, with a sense of danger, more or 
less vague, more or less well defined, but always sufficient to lead 
to efibrts intended to counteract its natural influence — its influ- 
ence not so much with slaves, certainly not alone with the slaves, 
but also with that important element of population which reaps 
no profit from the good behavior of the slaves. 

In De Bow^s Revieio for January, 1850, will be found the 
following passage in an article discussing the practicability of 
employing the non-slaveholding whites in factories, the argu- 
ment being that there will be less danger of their becom- 
ing "abolitionists" under such circumstances than at present 
exists : 



THE DANGER OF THE SOUTH. 451 

" The great mass of our poor white population begin to understand 
that they have rights, and that they, too, are entitled to some of the 
sympathy which falls upon the suffering. They are fast learning that 
there is an almost infinite world of industrj^ opening before them by 
which they can elevate themselves and their families from wretched- 
ness and ignorance to competence and intelligence. It is this great 
upheaving of our masses that we have to fear, so far as our institutions 
are concerned." 

It is, in the nature of things, while slaveholders refuse the 
slightest concession to the spirit of the age — while, in their leg- 
islation, they refuse to recognize, in the slightest degree, the prin- 
ciples of social science under which we live and must live, and 
which every civilized people has fully adopted, that they should 
endeavor to make it appear the fault of others that they do not 
feel assured of safety and at ease with themselves; that they 
should try to make their own ignorant people believe that it is 
from without all danger is to be apprehended — all assurance of 
safety to be clamored for — that they should endeavor to make 
themselves believe it.'* 

Those who seriously propose to stop all agitation on the subject 
of slavery, by causing the abolitionists to refrain from proceedings 
which cause apprehension at the South, by silencing all who entertain 
sentiments the utterance of which is deemed a source of " danger 
to southern institutions," by refraining themselves from all proceed- 

* The real object of the systematic mail robbery which is maintained 
tliroughout the South, and of the censorship of the press which is otherwise 
attempted, was once betrayed by a somewhat distinguished southern editor, 
Duff Green, in the United States Telegraphy in tlie following words : 

" The real danger of tliis [slave insurrection] is remote. We believe we 
have most to fear from the organized action upon the consciences and fears 
of th(3 slaveholders themselves ; from the insinuation of their dangerous here- 
sies into our schools, our pulpits, and our domestic circles. It is only by 
alarming the consciences of the weak and feeble, and disusing among our 
people a morbid sensiljility on the question of slavery, that the alwlitionists 
can accomplish their object." 

20 



452 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTKY. 

ings which will be looked upon with alarm by their fellow-citizens 
of the slave States, can know very little of what would be required 
before the South were satisfied. The destruction of some million 
dollars' cost in school and text-books would be one of the first and 
yet a small item in the undertaking. Books which directly com- 
ment upon slavery are considered comparatively safe by those who 
think that they comprehend the situation of the South, because their 
purpose being defined, they can be guarded against. As is wcill 
understood, it is the insidious attacks of a free press that are most 
feared. But is it well understood what are felt to be " insidious 
attacks ?" Some idea may be formed from the following passages 
which I take, not from the heated columns of a daily newspaper, 
but from the cool pages of the deliberate De Bow's Review. The 
apprehension they express is not of to-day ; in the first article 
from which I quote (which was published in the middle of Mr. 
Pierce's presidential term) reference is made to warnings of the 
same character which have been sounded from time to time be- 
fore ; and this very number of the Review contains a testimonial 
from fifty-five southern senators and representatives in Congress 
to the "ability and accuracy" of its "exposition of the working 
of the system of polity of the southern States." 

•' Our text books are abolition books. They are so to the extent of 
their capacity." . . . . " We have been too careless and indifferent 
to the import of these things." 

" And so long as Ave use such works as ' Wayland's Moral Science,' 
and the abolition geographies, readers, and histories, overrunning, as 
they do, with all sorts of slander-?, caricatures, and blood-thirsty senti- 
ments, let us never complain of their [northern Church people's] use 
of that transitory romance [Uncle Tom's Cabin]. They seek to array 
our children, by false ideas, against the established ordinance of Grod ; 
and it sometimes takes effect. A professor in one of our southern 
seminaries, not long since, placed in the hands of a pupil ' Wayland's 
Moral Science,' and informed her that the chapter on slavery was 
heretical and unscriptural, and that she would not be examined on that 
chapter, and need not study it. Perhaps she didn't. But on the day 



THE DANGER OF THE SOUTH. 453 



of examination she wished her teaclier to tell her '■ if that chapter was 
heretical how she was to know but thej were all so ?' We might enum- 
erate many other books of similar character and tendencies. But we 
will refer to only one more — it is 'Gilbert's Atlas' — though the real 
author's name does not appear on the title page. On the title page it 
is called ' Appleton's Complete Guide of the World;' published by D. 
Ap[)leton & Co., New York. This is an elegant and comprehensive 
volume, endorsed by the Appletons and sent South, containing hidden 
lessons of the most fiendish and murderous character that enraged fa- 
naticism could conceive or indite. It is a sort of literary and scientific 
infernal machine. And whatever the design may have been, the ten- 
dency is as shocking as the imagination can picture.* .... This 
is the artillery and these the implements England and our own recreant 
sister States are employing to overturn the order of socity and the 
established forms of labor that date back beyond the penning of the 

decalogue This book, and many other northern school 

books scattered over the country, come within the range of the stat- 
utes of this State, which provide for the imprisonment for life or the 
infliction of the penalty of death upon any person who shall 'publish 
or distribute' such works ; and were I a citizen of JSTew Orleans, this 
work should not escape the attention of the grand jury. But need I 
add more to convince the skeptical of the necessity there is for the 
production of our own text-books, and, may I not add, our own htera- 
ture ? Why should the land of domestic servitude be less productive 
in the great works of the mind now than when Homer evoked the 
arts, poetry, and eloquence into existence ? Moses wrote the Genesis 
of Creation, the Exodus of Israel, and the laws of mankind ? and when 
Cicero, Virgil, Horace, St. John, and St. Paul became the instructors 
of the world ?t . . . . They will want no cut-throat literature, no 
lire-brand moral science .... nor Appleton's ' Complete Atlas,' 
to encourage crimes that would blanch the cheek of a pirate, nor any 
of the ulcerous and polluting agencies issuing from the hot-beds of 
abolition fanaticism." 

From an article on educational reform at the South, in the 
same Review^ 185G, I take the following indications of what, 
among other northern doings, are considered to imperil the 
South : 

* Klsowhcre the Messrs. Applcton are spoken of as " the great Aboli- 
tion PUKLISHERS OP NeVV YoRK," 

f Note the argument, I pray you, reader. Why, indeed? Why is there 
not a Feejee Iliad? Are not the Foejets heathen, as Homer was? Why 
should not the Book of Mormon be as good a thing as the Psalms of David? 
Was not Joseph Smith also a polygamist ? 



454 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

" 'Lovell's United States Speaker,' the 'National Reader,' the 
' Young' Ladies' Reader,' ' Columbian Orator,' ' Scott's Lessons,' the 
' Village Reader,' and numerous others, have been used for years, and 
are all, in some respects, valuable compilations. We apprehend, how- 
ever, there are few parents or teachers who are familiar with the whole 
of their contents, or they would demand expurgated editions for the use 
of their children. The sickly sentimentality of the poet Cowper, whose 
ear became so 'pained,' and his soul 'sick with every day's report of 
wrong and outrage,' that it made him cry out in agony for ' a lodge in 
some vast wilderness,' where he might commune with howhng wolves 
and panthers on the blesssings of liherty (?), stamps its infectious poison 
upon many of the pages of these works." .... 

"From the American First Class Book, page 185, we quote another 
more modern sentiment, which bears no less higher authority than the 
name of the great Massachusetts statesman, Mr. Webster :" 

Having burnt or expurgated Webster and Cowper, is it to be 
imagined that the leaders of opinion in the South would yet be 
willing to permit familiar intercourse between themselves and a 
people who allowed a book containing such lines as these to 
circulate freely : 

" What IS a man 
If his chief good and market of his time 
Be but to sleep and feed ? A beast, no more. 
Sure, He that made us with such large discourse. 
Looking before and after, gave us not 
That capability and Godlike reason, 
To rust unused." 

What a dangerous sentiment to come by any chance to a 
slave! Is it not? Are you, then, prepared to burn your Shak- 
speare ? I will not ask if you will have another book " ex- 
purgated" of all passages the tendency of which is to set the 
bondmen free. 

If the security of life and property at the South must for ever 
be dependent on the thoroughness with which the negro popu- 
lation is prevented from acquiring knowledge, from thinking of 
themselves and for themselves, it will never bo felt to be greater 
than it is to-day. Eftbrts made to increase this security will of 



THE DANGER OF THE SOUTH. 455 

tliemselves occasion agitation, and agitation must counteract 
tliose eftbrts. Knowledge, knowledge of what is going on else- 
where, of the condition of men elsewhere, of what is thought 
elsewhere, must have increased currency with every class of man- 
kind in all parts of this continent, as it increases in population, 
and the movements of its population increase in activity and im- 
portance. No human laws, embargoes, or armies and navies can 
prevent it. Do our utmost, we can not go back of the steam- 
engine, the telegraph, the cotton-gin, and the cylinder-press. 
The South has admitted steamboats and railroads. It was not 
practicable to stop with these, and bar out all the rest that is 
peculiar to the nineteenth century. Is it practicable to admit 
the machinery of modern civilized life, and not stir up its free 
people ? Is it practicable to stir up its intermediate class, and 
keep its lowest torpid ? Assuredly the security which depends 
upon preventing either of these steps can never be permanently 
increased ; spite of all possible further extension of slave territory, 
and dispersion and disconnection of plantations, it must gradu- 
ally lessen. As it lessens, the demand upon the nation to supply 
new grounds of security must increase — increase continually, 
until at length, this year, next year, or another, they conclusively 
and hopelessly fail. It may cost us much or it may cost us little 
to reach that point, but it is inevitably to be reached. It may 
be after long and costly civil war, or longer and more costly 
foreign wars, or it may be peaceably, sensibly, and soon, but it 
must come. The annexation of Cuba, international fugitive 
slave laws,* the African slave trade, judgments of the Supreme 

* From the Columbia (S. C.) Times, quoted without dissent in the con- 
servative South CaroUna paper, the Charleston Mercury : 

"The loss that the South annually sustains by the running of slaves mto 



456 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

Court, and whatever else inaj be first asked and given, will not 
prevent it — nothing the North will do, nothing the North can 
do will prevent it. The proximity of a people who can not hold 
labor in contempt ; who can not keep laborers in ignorance and 
permanent dependence each upon another man ; who can not 
have an effective censorship of the press, or a trustworthy army 
of mouchards, prevents, and must always prevent, the South from 
standing with the slightest confidence of safety on that policy 
which it proclaims to be its only ground of safety. Nothing but 
a reversal of the current of our northern history for half a cen- 
tury, nothing in fact but the enslavement of labor at the North, 
could in the nature of things, give that security, even tempo- 
rarily, to the capitalists of labor at the South which they need.* 

Canada, is of sufficient importance to justify her public men in insisting upon 
some action of tlie Government of the United States in the premises. And 
we confess our surprise that southern statesmen have submitted with so 
much patience to the annual robbery of thousands of dollars worth of prop- 
erty to which she has as good a right as the land they cultivate. The 
time is propitious for the acquisition of all disputed rights from Euro- 
pean powers. They can not afford to break just now with the United 
States. Let our public men move in the matter, and we question not but 
that the President and the American Minister at St. James will give the 
movement a cordial support. Besides, this is a golden moment which may 
never return. Before we get another sound man in the presidential chair, 
peace may be made in Europe, and the European powers be less inchned to 
look with favor upon the demands of America." 

* " While it is far more obvious that negroes should be slaves than 
whites, for they are only lit to labor, not to direct ; yet the principle of 
slavery is itself right, and does not depend upon difference of complexion. 
Difference of race, lineage, of language, of habits, and customs, all tend to 
render the institution more natural and durable ; and although slaves have 
been generally whites, still the masters and slaves have generally been of 
different national descent. Moses and Aristotle, the earhest historians, are 
both authorities in favor of this difference of race, but not of color." — Rich- 
mond Enquirer. 



THE DANGER OF THE SOUTH. 457 

Some demand of the South upon the nation, acquiescence 
in which it holds essential to its safety, must then at length be 
distinctly refused. And when, ten or twenty years hence, if so 
be, this shall come to pass, what then is to happen us? 

Dissolution ? 

This is what many southern politicians avow, whenever they 
contemplate such a contingency. 

AVhy ? 

Because it is known that the people of the North are unwilling 
that the Union should be dissolved, whereas they have no indis- 
position to the only course which it will then be possible for the 
South to adopt, for the sake of increasing the security of its 
citizens, against insurrectionary movements of its slaves. This 
j)lainly would be to arrange a systematic opportunity and method 
for the slaves to labor, whenever they chose, and as much as 
they might choose, in an orderly, peaceable, and wise way, for 
their own release and improvement, each man for himself and 
those most dear to him ; each man by himself, independently, 
openly, with no occasion for combination, secrecy, plots, or con- 
spiracy. To prepare, for those disposed to avail themselves of 
it, a field, either here or elsewhere, in which their capability and 
Godlike reason, such as it may be, little or great, need not be 
forced by law to rust unused, or brighten only to the material 
advantage of a master. This I must think to be consciously, 
even now, the only final course of safety before every reflec- 
tive southern mind. This, or dissolution, and the chances 

of war. 

Which will be chosen ? 
Which is chosen ? 



458 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

The gambling propensity is always strong with those who, like 
the wealthy southerners, leave the details of their business wholly 
to others, and -who, seldom taking the trouble to reckon beyond 
next year's crop, are frequently in want of occupation of mind. 
Gambling is a prevalent vice at the South. It assumes all forms, 
and it is not to be wondered at that some intelligent men, feeling 
this to be true which I have said, are willing, with their eyes 
open, to stake their fortunes on the chances of war. Whatever 
comes of it, the leaders would probably be able to make terms 
for themselves. These intelligent men, if they can be leaders, 
are ready with their stakes — other men, who do not think so far, 
dissatisfied with the hand they have, are willing to try a new 
shuffle. In the quadrennial howl for dissolution, hosts of other 
intelligent men may unite, because it helps, or is supposed to help, 
to force the North to yield whatever may be the specific demand 
of the South at the time, whether it be for a measure or a man 
antecedent to a measure. There remains, then, the larger part of 
the population, poor, ignorant people, whose condition could not 
be made worse by a war. They have nothing to sell ; they buy 
nothing ; they have nothing which an enemy Avould want ; nothing 
to fear from devastation. At best they are indifferent. Add to 
these a number of wrong-headed rich men, for want of occupation 
also leads to impracticable and imaginative thinking, and this 
invariably, with cultivated men, to dogmatism and wrongheaded- 
ness, and we have the elements of strength for digunion at the 
the South — elements, it must be admitted, of a strong party, be- 
cause, for the present, nobody can experience direct harm from it. 

The substantial, intelligently occupied men, the busy, industri- 
ous, improving poor men, form the dormant union party. It will 
cohere and quicken never sooner than is necessary to reestablish 



THE DANGER OF THE SOUTH. 459 

what alone now gives any degree of confidence to industrial un- 
dertakings dependent on the labor of slaves, or the demand which 
arises therefrom. What its strength is likely to be when the 
question of union or separation comes to be a practical and im- 
mediate question, will depend mainly on what the people of the 
South then perceive to be their highest interest. How they will 
then look at it, can, I think, be predicted with some confidence. 
Let us consider some of the probable consequences of separation 
or dissolution. 

I couple the chances of war with disunion, not because I 
think no State or number of States have the abstract right to 
peaceably secede from the confederation, but because no possible 
motive can be imagined for such a secession which does not in- 
volve a state of war. It is not a negative the South wants. The 
threat of disunion is used only to compel the North to yield or 
undertake something to which the North must be disinclined. 
Withdraw Southern representatives from our Congress, release us 
from our constitutional obligations, and how are the demands of 
the South to be enforced except by arms? What would the 
South have of honor, or safety, or profit, out of the Union that 
she has not in it, except it were obtained by arms? I never 
heard the question of disunion referred to at the South, that it was 
not assumed to involve something of war, assumed to be in itself 
a demonstration of war — war to compel the North to give better 
protection, better profit to property in slaves. An argument for 
disunion is always an argument ad hominem ; an appeal to the 
warlike impulse and the warlike pride and confidence of the 
South. When I was in the South, there' was in all classes an im- 
pression, sometimes uttered to me with distinctness and elabora- 
tion, more frequently implied, that the working agricultural class, 

20* 



460 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

who mainly own the land, and all the working-people, of the 
ISTortli, were demoralized, like slaves, by their occupation, and 
disinclined as much as they were unfitted to engage in war, 
and that as the property of the rich was mainly of a destructable 
form, and much of it (as factories and buildings) not of a mova- 
ble character, these would all come to their knees at the slightest 
appearance of invasion, and by throwing the poor out of employ- 
ment, soon compel the whole people, not otherwise so inclined, to 
sue for peace on whatever terms the South should determine 
that its interests required. I know that many rather well- 
informed men have this idea, and I presume it is universal with 
the active disunionists. It plainly underlies all their arguments, 
and pervades all their demonstrations which are not obvious gas- 
conade. 

THE MILITARY CONDITION OF THE SOUTH. 

It is undoubtedly true that the southerners, compared with 
ourselves, are more ready to violence, more familiar with deadly 
weapons, and more accustomed to resort to physical means of 
self-defense. It is also true that they are generally less accus- 
tomed to luxury, and are more ready for camp life than we are. 
Probably, also, they are more generally ambitious of martial 
glory, and more inclined to engage in war — especially so the 
wealthy young men. Tlie latter class have likewise been more 
" accustomed to command" than the corresponding class with us, 
und if these conditions constitute a warlike people, or a military 
;)eople, then the southerners have a fair claim to be so designated, 
md to look upon us as, comparitively speaking, a patient, peace- 
ible, and materialistic people. This being so, it may still remain 
a question whether a " warlike" and " military" people is safer 



THE DANGER OF THE SOUTH. 461 

from the evils and dangers of war than a people ordinarily devoted 
in excess to the arts and industrious occupations of peace. I 
believe that it is an error to suppose that the latter, however re- 
luctant they may be to engage in war, however even pusillani- 
mous they may ordinarily appear to be, are a poor stock for 
soldiers when compelled, or induced by sufficient motive, to en- 
gage in war. How was it with the greedy, phlegmatic, hard- 
working, and unambitious Hollanders (who could afford, rather 
than fight, to supply a foreign tyrant and usurper — the head of a 
rich empire — with two-fifths of his annual revenue) when at last 
roused to resist the demands of Philip II. ? The pale weavers 
withdrew reluctantly from their looms, the farmers from their 
dikes, the laborers from the puddle-banks, the boatmen from the 
canals, the clerks from the counting-rooms, the haberdashers, 
smiths, cutlers, and cobblers, all from their shops, took up the 
tools and machines of war, enrolled themselves, disciplined them- 
selves, drilled early and late, and, when the shock came, stood 
firm and cool as veterans, so that the inflexible Alva was com- 
pelled to exclaim, " These men," crooked, grim, pale, peaceable 
plodders as they were, and were willing to be, "these men are 
equal to the best of soldiers," and again to acknowledge " never 
was a city defended with such skill and bravery" as the manu- 
facturing town of Harlem, chiefly by its own operatives.'^ 

How was it at our own Revolution ? The characteristics of 
the North and South then diff'ered only from the present in de- 
gree, as clearly appears on reading Jefferson's notes on the 
Virginians. 

There was probably more plodding industry and less chivalrous 

* Motley's Dutch Republic, pages 440, 444. 



462 



A JOUENEY IN THE BACK COUNTET. 



adventure and martial ambition in Connecticut than in any other 
colony. Yet when, at length, success was earned, Washington 
looking hack with pain upon what it had cost, said : " If airhad 
done their duty as well as the little State of Connecticut, the 
war would have ended long ago."* The people of South Carolina 
were probably the most warlike of all, as, for the present, we use 
that term. But Governor Eutledge could not even get the 
mditia to muster in defense of their own houses. Marion did 
bravely with a small body of skirmishers, but confessed and 
bewailed the fact, that the people in general had not the spirit to 
defend themselves, and that the State was lost through their own 
stupidity and factiousness, which he attributed directly to the gen- 
eral enslavement of the working classes, and the ignorance, idle- 
ness, and selfishness of the free.f It was much the same throu.,h- 
out the slaveholding and chivalric districts; better in the free hil] 
country. General Greene wrote, when in command of the 
southern army, and stationed in the Carolinas, "The back- 
country people are brave and daring, but the people on the sea- 
coast are sickly, and but indifferent militia." 

The independence of this country is due chiefly to the cood 
fightmg qualities of what had been its most quiet, peaceable, 
hard-working, and plodding citizens before the war. Since the 
Revolution, the real military strength of the North has never 
been for a moment engaged. It is its yeomanry-men who have 
been accus'omed to labor with their own hands, who have no 
impatient personal ambition, and who will not leave their farms 
and their shops, and their families until the demand is urgent-^ 
that a hard-pressed nation always finally depends upon. And 

* Irviug's Washington, vol. iii., p. 130. 

f See extraet, Sea-board Slave States, p. 503. 



THE DANGER OF THE SOUTH. 463 

there is nowhere else in the world so numerous, or so generally 
intelligent, or so every way capable a yeomanry as that of our 
Northern States. It was by seamen out of this class that our 
navy was chiefly manned during the second English war, their 
ordinary occupations having been interrupted by it (as those of 
the yeomanry proper were not), and it was precisely in the quali- 
ties of cool, dehberate, and determined application of means to 
ends, and of steadiness under fi.re, that they were found to excel 
even the British sailor, whose ardor and neglect to make the 
most of his advantages repeatedly occasioned his defeat when 
engaged with them. 

I will not refer to the facts of the Mexican war, because there 
are yet no authorities whose statements upon the details would 
be generally accepted. I have never conversed with an officer of 
the line who held the popular view of the value of the services 
of either the southern or the northern volunteers; and I have 
been told by one of the comrades of the "young gentlemen of 
good family," who came in the ranks to Vera Cruz from Missis- 
sippi and South Carolina, and of whom we have heard so much, 
that the larger part were constantly in hospital while they re- 
mained, and scarcely any "stood it through." As at the Revolu- 
tion, they were " sickly and but indifferent militia." 

"the habit of command." 

Professor Tucker, in a "Treatise on Political Economy," 

says : 

" Tlie habit of command to which the master of slaves has been 
ftimiliarized from his inflmcy, peculiarly fits him for many of the higher 
duties of civilized Ufe. He is thus likely to be better qualified for exer- 
cising antliority, both in the army and navy, and even in the civil de- 
partment. It is, perhaps, thus that the Southern States have furnished 



464 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

more than their proportion of those who have held the higher offices of 
the government."* 

This is at tlie bottom identical with tlie aristocratic tlieory of 
government. Is it to be trusted ? 

The sum of the intellectual wealth possessed by the South, if 
it could be measured, would undoubtedly be found small, compared 
with that of the North, and the intellectual wealth employed in 
all other avocations at the South, except that of the politician, is^ 
I should think, not equal to that of some one of the States of the 
North. It would be true to say that the South employs an im- 
mensely larger proportion of its whole wealth of intellectual talent 
in politics than the North. Englishmen, as well as southerners, 
commonly consider this to be evidence, so far as it goes, of a better 
state of society. In my judgment, it is quite otherwise. The 
talent of the North is not engrossed with politics, because it is 
much less required in politics than in other departments of 
service to the public. Our method of government has this ad- 
vantage, it is less dangerous than any other. It is not a religion ; 
it does not form society. It is the agent of society for certain 
limited, and, compared with the aggregate of other business which 
society has in hand, extremely unimportant duties. Consider the 
wealth which has been developed, the talent which has been called 
into active use for the benefit of mankind, the convenience for 
comfortable and intelligent living, which have been established 
for the use of millions of people, through the agency of some 
score of the leading merchants and capitalists of the city of New 
York, and ask whether it would not have been a most unfortunate 
waste of their talent, had these men been all their time in Con- 

* Political Economy for the People. By G-eorge Tucker, formerly Repre- 
sentative in Congress from Yirginia, and Professor of Moral Philosophy in 
the University of Virginia. 



THE DANGER OF THE SOUTH. 465 

gress or at European courts— at the bar or on the beucli ? Fulton 
and Wliitney alone have done ten thousand times more for the 
wealth, and power, and respectability of the South than John C 
Calhoun. Two northern railroad builders have done more, by 
their individual energy and good judgment, for the State of 
Georgia, during the last fifteen years, than all its politicians in a 
century ; and Mr. Erricson will probably have accomplished infin- 
itely more in the next ten years for the power of the South, 
through the bravery, pride, perseverance and inflexible will with 
which he has made his invention of the caloric engine successful, 
than will have resulted from the labors of all the piratico-political 
bullies, like Walker and Lamar, of our generation. Is not the 
President of the Illinois Central Railroad Company rightly a 
man of more consequence in that State than its so entitled Gov- 
ernor ? One is paid, I suppose, two thousand dollars a year, the 
other, perhaps twenty thousand, for his services, and the intel- 
lectual wealth required to satisfactorily discharge the functions 
of the two offices is thus very fairly represented. Could the 
talent which has been applied to the commercial enterprise of 
the London Times, during the last fifty years, have been devoted 
with half the efl^'ect upon the condition of England which it has 
had, if it had been employed in Parliament ? And yet the 
English, being a centralized government, touching the details of 
its duty only by the most tedious processes, and encumbered with 
old machinery of forms and etiquette, which would be like gloves to 
a type-setter, for ordinary men of business, needs a much greater 
withdrawal of talent from other offices of society than ours. 

AVe hear from Europe much reflection upon the tendency of 
democratic institutions to produce corruption in office, injustice, 
and violence. The examples of this country which lead to these 



466 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTEY. 

reflections, truly show tlie necessities of springin-g nations with 
an echoing frontier of savage and lawless life on one side, and a 
continent draining life from under hard pressure, on the other. 
The evidence of governmental corruption, injustice, and violence 
which we display (and we take no care to conceal it), is trivial 
compared with that which escapes from the more distinctly aris- 
tocratically governed countries of Europe in an average of twenty 
years. I have traveled a good deal in both continents, and I can 
not doubt that, spite of the general intensity and recklessness 
which belongs to our position in the world, there is no country 
in Europe where men and women may follow personal inclina- 
tions which should be harmless, with as much freedom and 
safety, as, on an average, in the free States of our Republic. I 
make this comparison with England with the most confidence, 
because I have lived there for more than a year, attentively re- 
garding the common life of the common people. 

Unquestionably there are great evils arising from the lack of 
talent applied to our government, from the lack of real dignity 
of character and respectability of attainments in many govern- 
ment oflices, but is there not quite as much of evil to the com- 
monwealth arising from the lack of talent and of sound judgment 
and severe fidelity to duty in the officers of our railroad and 
banking systems? What losses, what untold misery has been 
occasioned by the ignorance, the credulity, the want of judgment 
of those who have formed our railroad system. Has ignorance, 
and folly, and carelessness occasioned half the sufi'ering to our 
citizens or to the people of Europe in dealings with the bank, the 
tariff", the sub-treasury, or any other measure of civil government 
or laws? If some of our policemen are loafers, and some of our 
senators blackguards, how is it with our switchmen and our edi- 



THE DANGER OF THE SOUTH. 46*7 

tors, and in Avliicli class does any one of us, who reads a newspaper 
as he speeds npon his business, prefer to have thorough discipline 
and good manners? What we have to do on this continent is 
everywhere found a heavy task; we can't afford to employ a 
heavy proportion of talent or honesty about the little share of 
our business which is done at the capital, much less can we spare 
it for the State house or city hall. 

Do I write as if it were to be conceded that the South really did 
get more talent applied to government than we do ? This I by 
no means believe. The South sends more " orators" to Washing- 
ton than the North, and the nuisance of Washington is " bunkum" 
oratory. The South speaks more Greek at Washington than the 
North. The valuable men at Washington are not speakers of 
Greek or aught else, but the diggers and builders of the com- 
mittees, and the clerks of the departments, and the best of these 
are men trained in habits of business by the necessities of what 
is called private business, and who have been drawn directly 
from this private business. 

It is a pleasant habit, in which most southerners freely indulge, 
both in literature and in conversation, to repeat phrases of the 
significance of that of Professor Tucker, " the habit of command 
to w^hich the master of slaves has been familiarized from infancy," 
and it seems to be generally imagined that the unmethodical, 
irresponsible power of compelling negro slaves to perform menial 
duties, must have the effect of producing a character similar to 
that which obtains the instinctive respect of powerful disciplined 
bodies of freemen. The condition of a wealthy slaveholder has 
some advantages, undeniably, as a preparation for civil duties, for 
it insnres leisure for calm study and deliberate reflection to those 
so inclined. If it do not also lead to idle and perverse habits of 



468 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

mind, to Quixotic theorizing and exciting speculations, it may 
produce some valuable fruit in civil public life. I can see no way 
in which a man's character could be much affected by it favor- 
ably for military duties. It is true that a certain kind of "com- 
manding manners" may be acquired on the plantation ; that 
something which may be called " self-confidence in command" 
may be acquired, by being personally served by slaves ; but if 
these be valuable, as a preparation for the duties of military 
officers, other qualities and attainments are not less so. The 
country is at no little pains to select men who possess these, or 
will most assuredly acquire them. Our wisest and most success- 
ful officers and statesmen have formed the system in use for this 
purpose, and it is probably the best in the world. It begins by 
annually assembling a body of young men, who are inspired with 
the ambition, and believe themselves well prepared and adapted 
to be trained for the duties of officers, who are, moreover, ap- 
proved each by a member of Congress, from among all similarly 
disposed in his district, as the most worthy (except a certain 
number, nominated by the President, and supposed to be taken 
in equal numbers from each part of the country, and who, for 
the present purpose, may be left out of account). A preliminary 
examination is had, and if any of those selected have not been 
able, before the time of life at which they are allowed to pre- 
sent themselves, to acquire the elements of a common school 
education, or if any appear physically incompetent to undertake 
soldierly duties, they are at once set aside. No record is kept, 
as I am informed by the commanding officer at West Point, 
of these preliminary examinations. 

For four years afterwards, sometimes five, those who are found 
so far capable as to be worth the trouble, are kept in training 



THE DANGER OF THE SOUTH. 469 

and on trial for competency as soldiers and officers. Once a year 
the result is published, the names of a certain number, who are 
entitled the " most distinguished," being officially announced in 
the Artiuj Register. So far as it has been possible to construct a 
rule for the measurement of the qualifications needed for mili- 
tary command, these young men are the best which our gov- 
ernment, acting under the advice of our most experienced mili- 
tary men, has been able to obtain in the country. I have 
examined the Registers as far back as 1848, and find that in the 
eight years following,"^' the first distinction has been gained by 
twenty-four entered from the free States, and by two entered 
from the slave States. Of all those obtaining official honors in 
the same time, one hundred and eight entered from the free 
States, and thirty-four from the slave States. Of those who, 
during the same period, were either discharged, sent back, or 
barely whipped through (being the lowest ten of each class, in- 
cluding those thrown out), a minority of all were from the free 
States. 

Certainly there are qualities of the highest value for conduct- 
ing military operations, which the West Point sifting can not 
catch ; and it is not impossible that the men who have been 
most punctual, most exact, most thorough, indefatigable, and 
tenacious in all the opportunities there off*ered them to develop 
the most necessary qualities and obtain the most necessary ac- 
quirements of modern warriors, may be most deficient in the 
native talent which overcomes that class of difficulties for which 
there can be no sufficient preparation until they arise on the 
field. What are these other qualities, and how can they be 

* Subsequent registers I had not been able to obtain when this chapter 
was prepared. They would not alter the general indications of these. 



470 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

manifested? They are mainly included under a single phrase — 
fertility of resource ; in other words — inventive genius. How 
stands the evidence as to the respective strength of the free and 
slave States in this quality ? The record at Washington shows, 
in a single year, two thousand original inventions from the free 
States, established before the patent office examiners, to less than 
three hundred from the slave States. 

A very well informed writer has observed that military quali- 
ties, both as regards bravery and fitness for the work, are, upon 
the whole, pretty evenly distributed among civilized nations ; that 
it is not so much the degree as the special nature of the qualifi- 
cation which distinguishes the soldier of different nationalities — 
each having some advantages and disadvantages over all others.* 
It is hardly ne.cessary to say anything of courage. It is rarely, 
except from want of esprit de corps, and, with new soldiers, faith- 
less in their organization, that cowardice becomes an important 
element in determining the result of a warlike struggle. If the 
southerner has more ardor and readiness for deeds of arms, if he 
has more personal military ambition, more dash and reckless daring, 
the northerner has more stanchness, and, once roused, more un- 
tiring, sober, and trustworthy enthusiasm. If the South has the 
most squirrel shooters, street skirmishers, and duelists, the North 
has the most men who have proved themselves heroes in con- 
tests with the elements, and who appreciate and are accustomed 
to the benefits resulting from the subordination of the individual 
will to the corporate. The North has also much the largest 
force of enrolled militia : 

North, number 1,381,843 

South, " 792,876 

* Putnam's Monthly, August, 1855. 



THE DANGER OF THE SOUTH. 471 

A mere enrollment is of little valne without organization and 
equipment. There is no doubt that a far larger proportion of the 
northern enrolled militia is in some degree organized, equipped, 
drilled, and accustomed to act under its officers, than of the 
southern. 

The comparative material resources of the two parts of our 
country, really the most important circumstance by which to 
determine their comparative ability to endure war — having been 
much discussed and set forth with other purposes — it is unneces- 
sary to more than remind the reader of the entirely overwhelming 
power the North controls in this respect. The census returns in- 
dicate the 

REAL AND PERSONAL PROPERTY I 

In the Free States $4,102,172,108 

" Slave States (including slaves) . . 2,936,081,731 

But, for war purposes, it is certainly absurd to hold slaves at a 
higher valuation than free men. Considering negroes, then, as 
no more to be reckoned a part of the wealth of the country than 
other men, the comparison will stand : 

REAL AND PERSONAL PROPERTY I 

Free States $4,102,172,108 

Slave States (slaves not included) 1,336,090,737* 

The present actual revenue of the free States is to that of the 
slave States as eighteen to eight. 

The purely military resources are certainly not less preponder- 
ating in the free States than might be presumed from these figures; 
the stock of saltpetre, lead, hospital stores, etc., being always far 

* Slaves valued at a trifle over five hundred dollars a head ; a low esti- 
mate. 



472 A JOUKNEY IN THE BACK COUNTllY. 

larger, and the principal manufactories of arms, vehicles, etc. — not 
considering those of the government — ^being in the free States. 

In means of rapidly concentrating land forces, the advantage 
of the North is sufficiently indicated by a comparison of the ex- 
tent of 

COMPLETED RAILROADS ! 

Free States, miles (ISSY) 17,855 

Slave States, " " 6,859 

The latter being much more poorly equipped, and rarely double- 
tracked. The cost of the northern roads has been more than 
five times those of the South. 

Still more, by a comparison of the cost of transporting the 
mails, which is more than four times as much at the South, rela- 
tively to the amount carried, as at the North : 

MAIL TRANSPORTATION COST FOR EVERY DOLLAR RECEIVED 

IN POSTAGE : 

Free States 56 cts. 

Slave States $1.51 

As to marine resources for the purpose, more than nine tenths 
of all the shipping and boats of the United States (tonnage ca- 
pacity) have been built, and are now owned north of the Potomac 
and the Ohio. 

Whether the fact that a large constituent of the working force 
of the South is the offspring of a subjected foreign people, itself 
held to labor without stipulated wages, not connected by mar- 
riage with the citizens, owning nothing of the property, having 
no voice in the State, in the lowest degree ignorant, and yet 
half barbarous in disposition and habits — whether this fact is an 



THE DANGER OF THE SOUTH. 473 

element of strength or weakness in a civilized war — can it be a 
question ? 

Certainly not, in tlie minds of the gentlemen in onr confederate 
employment, who are also engaged in the work of '' preparing the 
South for its destiny," as the following extracts from De Bow's 
" Resources of the South" will indicate : 

" If any thing is certain in human affairs, it is certain, and from the 
most obvious considerations, that we are more secure in this respect than 
any civilized and fully peopled society on the face of the earth. In 
every such society there is a much larger proportion than with us of 
persons who have more to gain than to lose by the overthrow of gov- 
ernment and the embroiling of social order." .... "It is almost physic- 
ally impossible that there should be any very extensive combination 
among the slaves." . . . . " The efficiency of an army is Tletermined 
by the qualities of its officers. And may we not hope to have a greater 
proportion of men better quahfied.for officers, and possessing the true 
spirit of mihtary command." . . . . " The Helots were a regular con- 
stituent of the Spartan armies. Thoroughly acquainted with their 
characters and accustomed to command them, we might use any 
strictness of discipline which would be necessary to render them effec- 
tive, and from their habits of subordination already formed this would 
be a task of less difficulty." ....'•' With white officers, and accom- 
panied hy strong white cavalry^ there are no troops in the world from 
which there would be so httle reason to apprehend insubordination or 
mutiny." 

The opinion here indicated, that the slaves are a thoroughly 
subjected race, that they recognize and quail instinctively before 
their masters, is a correct one, generally speaking, as I have often 
noticed; but that this "instinct" — that is to say, instinct-like 
habit of mind — can be depended upon at all times is far from 
being true, as also I have seen abundant evidence. Let the 
negro have a strong scent of freedom, and how the real instinct 
of manhood, which has been dormant perhaps for generations, 
may chance to take possession of him the editor of the Feliciana 
Whig (Louisiania newspaper), with the simple eloquence of a 
pure savage, shall testify : 



474 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

'' On Saturday last, a runaway negro was killed in the parish of East 
Baton Rouge, just below the line of this parish, under the following 
circumstances : Two citizens of Port Hudson, learning that a negro 
was at work on a flat boat, loading with sand, just below that place, 
who was suspected of being a runaway, went down in a skiff for the 
purpose of arresting him. 

"Having seized him and put him into the skiff they started back, but 
had not proceeded far when the negro, who had been at the oars, seized 
a hatchet and assaulted one of them, wounding him very seriously. A 
scuffle ensued, in which both parties fell overboard. They were both 
rescued by the citizen pulling to them with the skiff. Finding him so 
unmanageable, the negro was put ashore, and the parties returned to 
Port Hudson for arms and a pack of negro dogs, and started again with 
the intention to capture him. They soon got on his trail, and when 
found again he was standing at bay upon the outer edge of a large raft 
of drift wood, armed with a club and pistol. 

"In this position he bade defiance to men and dogs — knocking the 
latter into the water with his club, and resolutely threatening death to 
any man who approached him. Finding him obstinately determined 
not to surrender, one of his pursuers shot him. He fell at the third fire, 
and so determined was he not to be captured, that when an effort was 
made to rescue him from drowning he made battle with his club, and 
sunk waving his weapon in angry defiance at his pursuers. He refused 
to give the name of his owner."* 

So far as I could ascertain, there are but few districts in which, 
ordinarily, insurrection is much or constantly, at present, appre- 
hended. Yet there is no part of the South where the slave pop- 
ulation is felt to be quite safe from a contagion of insurrectionary 
excitement. Any great event having the slightest bearing upon 

* That the reader may appreciate more perfectly the condition of the soul 
which could describe in these terms such a glory of mankind as this nigger, 
who — by the grace of God, a true nobleman — made and kept himself a free 
man, I quote from Norman's New Orleans and Us Environs, an account of the 
leading class of Feliciana : 

'■ This latter received its beautiful and expressive name from its beautifully 
variegated surface of hills and valleys, and its rare combination of all the 
qualities that are most desired in a planting country. It is a region of almost 
fairy beauty and wealth. Here are some of the wealthiest and most intelli- 
gent planters and the finest plantations in the State, the region of princely 
taste and more than patriarchal hospitality," etc. 

It is the region and tlie people, in short, I described in the first chapter 
of this volume. 



THE DANGER OF THE SOUTH. 475 

tlie questiou of emancipation is known to produce an " unwhole- 
some excitement," even in parts of the country where the slave 
population is, and has least reason not to be, peculiarly contented 
with its condition. The last presidential election was followed by 
the discovery of conspiracies and insurrectionary symptoms in all 
but, I believe, three of the slave States. It was estimated at the 
time that, altogether, not less than sixty slaves were put to death ; 
some by hanging, but many by torture, in the efibrts to check the 
supposed contagion of revolt. The danger seemed at this time 
to be about equal in the farming and in the planting districts. 
In but one or tAvo of those districts in which the danger is ordi- 
narily considered greatest, did evidence of unusual excitement 
among the slaves become public, undoubtedly because, in those 
districts, the precautions had been strenuous and sufficient — that 
is to say, because the white population was vigilant, and the 
slaves felt themselves under a strong hand. 

An armed citizens' police, having a military organization, is, as 
I have before said, sustained in all parts of the South where there 
are many slaves. It is more or less efficient according to the ne- 
cessities of the case, but any long continued entire neglect usually 
results in general insubordination and much inconvenience, as is 
indicated in the following remarks upon a robbery in his neigh- 
borhood by a Texas editor : 

" While all the men were gone from the place, a negro described as 
being bare headed, thick set, and having on a blue blanket coat and a 
pair of blue cottonade pants, came to the house, and seeing a double- 
barrel gun in the corner look it. He then ordered Mrs. Krouse to get 
him some ammunition, threatening to kill her if she refused. Having 
got this, he warned her to make no alarm or he would come back and 
shoot her down. He then made the best of his way off. 

" We can but say in connection with this affair that the patrols of the 
various parts of the county are getting to be lamentably lax in their duty. 
There are at this time at least a dozen runaway negroes that we know 
of in the county. We hear of thieveries committed by them every day 

21 



476 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

or two. The above is the boldest act we have yet heard of, and yet that 
may be followed by yet bolder ones, if this state of things is not checked. 
When it comes to this, that our property is not secure in our houses, in 
broad day light, from the incursions of these vagabonds, and that even 
the lives of defenseless women are threatened by them, it is time some- 
thing was done. Let the captains of the patrol look to their duty." 

It must be borne in mind that throughout the South slaves are 
accustomed to " run away." On every large or moderate plan- 
tation, which I visited, I had evidence that in peace, with, south 
of Virginia and east of Texas, no prospect of finding shelter 
within hundreds of miles, or of long avoiding recapture and 
severe punishment, many slaves had a habit of frequently making 
eflbrts to escape temporarily from their ordinary condition of sub- 
jection. I have shown that this is so common that southern 
writers gravely describe it as a disease — a monomania, to which 
the negro race is peculiarly subject, making the common mistake 
of attributing to blood that which is much more rationally to be 
traced to condition. 

This is the difference between slave and other property. Ships, 
goods, buildings, machinery, stores may be destroyed, and to some 
extent, with labor and hazard, carried off. Hence those interested 
to maintain these things are most anxious to prevent invasion — 
to annoy and check the progress of invaders by any available 
means. Slaves may carry themselves off, and with themselves 
may carry off much other property, which, under ordinary cir- 
cumstances of war, is not accessible by an enemy. When a slave 
now runs for the frontier, he seldom neglects the attempt to de- 
spoil his master, in some way or other, of movable property, 
justifying himself with himself on the ground that he has earned 
wages which have been withheld from him. In a large propor- 
tion of all cases, Texas runaways are advertised as having taken 
a horse, a gun, money, and clothes. 



THE DANGER OF THE SOUTH. 417 

To suppose that in case of a war, either foreign or civil, the 
slaves would be an element of strength to the South, or that an 
enemy could not easily turn them to account, seems to me to be, 
on the face of it, a foundation upon which only the maddest 
theorist or the most impracticable of abstractionists could found a 
policy. Whether, finally, in case of the civil war with a threat 
of which we have so often been threatened, and the periodical 
suggestion of which will, in the ordinary course of events, 
soon be presented to us again, northern men are likely to be 
more influenced by the cost of extra-hazardous insurance policies 
on their manufactures and stores, than southern gentlemen by 
the dread of losing the services of their slaves, we can best judge 
by reference to the past. 

During the Revolution, the British ships on the coast, at times 
offered protection to runaway slaves ; and it was estimated that 
they carried away from Virginia alone not less than thirty thou- 
sand of them.* Washington demanded the restoration of one 
hundred and fifty taken at one time to Nova Scotia, which was 
refused by Sir Guy Carlton.f John Jay, writing to John Adams, 
says : " Great numbers of slaves were carried away by the British 
forces from other ports beside New York." J In the second Eng- 
lish war, the enemy had too few ships to spare, and little oppor- 
tunity to adopt the same means of annoyance ; but a proclama- 
tion of Admiral Cochrane in the spring of 1814, caused great 
alarm at the South, it being addressed to the slaves, under the 
denomination " of all persons desirous to emigrate from the UniteSl 
States." These were informed that they would receive protec- 
tion on board any of his majesty's ships, and be given free pas- 

* Hildreth, vol. iii., p. 355. f Spark'a Dip. Cor., voL iv., p. 173. 

X Spark's "Dip. Cor., vol. iv., p. 358. 



478 A JOUENEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

sage to free soil, if they desired it.* A large sum was afterwards 
claimed as indemnity for slaves so carried away, and tlie claim 
referred to Russia as arbiter.f 

The testimony of Mr. Madison, given in a debate in Congress, 
1797, on a proposition to impose a duty upon the importation of 
slaves^J is as follows : 

" It is to be hoped that by expressing a natural disapprobation of 
this trade we may destroy it, and save ourselves from reproaches, and 
our posterity the imbecility ever attendant on a country filled with 
Slaves. I do not vrish to say any tiling harsh to the hearing of gentle- 
men who entertain different sentiments from me, or different senti- 
ments from those I represent, but if there is any one point in which 
it is clearly the policy of this nation, so far as we constitutionally can, 
to vary the practice obtaining under some of the State governments, 
it is this. But it is certain a majority of the States are opposed to this 
practice, therefore, upon principle, we ought to discountenance it as far 
as it is in our power. 

" If I were not afraid of being told that the represeutatives of the 
several States are the best able to judge of what is proper and condu- 
cive to their particular prosperity, I should venture to say that it is as 
much the interest of Georgia and South Carolina as of any in the 
Union. Every adcUtion they receive to their number of slaves tends to 
weaken and render them less capable of self-defense. In case of hostilities 
with foreign nations^ they will be the means of inviting attach instead of 
repelling invasion. It is the necessary duty of the general government 
to protect every part of the emphe against danger, as well internal as 
external. Every thing, therefore, which tends to increase this danger, 
though it may be a local affair, yet if it involves national expense or 
safety, becomes of concern to every part of the Union, and is a proper 
subject for the consideration of those charged with the general ad- 
ministration of the government." 

The most conclusive evidence, nowever, is that given by that 
sound and clear-headed patriot, Marion, whose words in reply to 
De Kalb's inquiry, why the South Carolinians were all " running 
to take British protections," I again quote : 

" We told him the reason was very plain to us who were inhabitants 
of that country, and knew very well the state of things there. . . . 

* Hildreth, vol. vi., p. 483. f HUdreth, vol. vi., p. 660. 

X Barton';s Debates, p. 75. 



THE DANGER OF THE SOUTH. 479 

The people of Carolina form two classes, the rich and the poor. The 
poor are generally very poor, because not being necessary to the rich, 
who have slaves to do all the work, they get no employment of them. 
Being thus unsupported by the rich, they continue poor and low spir- 
ited. They seldom get money, and, indeed, what little they do get is 
laid out in brandy to raise their spirits, and not on books and news- 
papers to get information. Hence, they know nothing of the com- 
parative blessings of our country or of the dangers which threaten it, 
and, therefore, care nothing about it. As to the other class, the rich, 
they are very rich, and, consequently, afraid to stir, unless a fair chance 
offer, lest the British should hum their houses and furniture, and carry 
off their negroes and stoch.^'' 

And South Carolina is far weaker on these grounds to-day than 
she was at the Revolution. So is all the cotton region. The 
border States on the North are possibly stronger, but if English 
ships drew slaves from their masters to be transported to Nova 
Scotia, what would England itself brought along side of Virginia 
have done ? 

Chancellor Harper, of South Carolina, after claiming that there 
would be less danger from insubordination of the slaves, if the 
South were engaged in war, than usual, because there would then 
be a larger force of armed men a-foot within the country than 
usual, by which they would be overawed, urges that it is practi- 
cable and may be found best to put arms in the hands of the 
slaves themselves and lead them against the enemy, but concludes 
that if this were attempted it might be dangerous, after a peace 
had again been obtained, to attempt to reduce them " to their 
former condition of laborers." "It might be necessary," he says, 
"when once embodied, to keep them so, and subject to military 
discipline — a permanent standing army. This, in time of peace, 
would be expensive, if not dangerous." 

Few northern readers can read this conclusion, reflecting that 
the contingency it supposes is coolly discussed as one of the prob- 
able necessities of a severe campaign of war by one of the oftest- 



480 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

quoted authorities of the extreme southern party, and hold the 
common sense of the South in so little respect as to apprehend 
that an actual fighting war has ever been contemplated in earnest 
as a means of strengthening slavery. They will be more likely 
to believe, that while a warlike demonstration is intended, nothing- 
like a war in earnest is presumed by those whose voice renders 
the threat of secession worthy of our notice. This is my own 
judgment. With few exceptions — madder enthusiasts than any 
we can set against them — these men pledge, and swear, and sol- 
emnly vow themselves to the alternative of secession, in the belief 
that should the presumed condition arise, and should they be 
forced to attempt to fulfill their vow^s, commercial interests, under 
the instant check to trade which would occur at the first demon- 
stration of arms, would prevail, the North recede, and a new con- 
federate constitution be obtained, giving new national securities 
for slavery. 

This error is to be attributed to the prevalent opinion of the 
South, by which the most intelligent must be affected, that labor 
begets pusillanimity, and commercial habits unfitness for war, and 
hence that a real danger of war would bring the South the imme- 
diate moral support of a host of people who now resist the demands 
of the South. 

The fact is, that the native rural population of the North is a 
peculiarly law-loving, and, in this way, a peace-loving people ; the 
strength of the party which the South has agreed to deal with 
as an enemy is mainly with this class of people. That party can, 
in the nature of things, never undertake to accomplish its pur- 
poses by illegal or unconstitutional acts without losing the support 
of a large proportion of the rural voters of the North. 

Whatever their personal views may be, the leaders of the free 



THE DANGER OP THE SOUTH. 481 

soil army of the North know this, and will be governed as poli- 
ticians and as statesmen by it. On the other hand, no party could 
exist in an effective form for political action at the North, which 
supported men who were avowedly acting disloyally to the consti- 
tution at the South. A secession movement at the South, based 
on anything but an unquestionable act of unconstitutional ag- 
gression against the South, would then, as soon as it began to be 
regarded with respect at the North, find few apologists, no prac- 
tical supporters. Long before it brought about a serious passage 
of arms, the North would be practically united in one party 
against it, and in support of the government to which it was 
opposed. Evidence of this would alone be necessary to convince 
any intelligent man at the South of the folly of the attempt to 
coerce the North, and of the necessity for the adoption at home 
of a new policy — a policy by which the South should no longer 
depend upon the cooperation of the North in providing against 
the dangers of slavery. Of necessity, the reactionary party would 
represent and embody the strength of the nation, that is to say, 
of the entire North added to itself, in carrying out its policy. 
Thus, I see no cause for alarm, but only for hope of a peaceful 
end to our great national squabble, in the most violent and 
solemn determination for dissolution and war which can be ex- 
hibited at the South. 

As the present policy so madly pursued has departed from the 
principles of Democracy and the old Democratic party, so that 
the words of Jefferson would now hang a man anywhere at the 
South, I do not much doubt that when reaction comes, the prin- 
ciples on which Jefferson desired to deal with slavery will be 
found eminently safe and profitable. There would still be ex- 
tremists ; there would be fanatics and fools ; there would be 



482 A JOURNEY IN THE BACK COUNTRY. 

great difference of opinion as to tlie ultimate destiny of the negro 
race, and as to the final disappearance of slavery, and difference 
of judgment among moderate men as to measures; but the com- 
mon sense of the South would be seconded by the common sense 
of the North, and would receive the respect of the world, when 
it had established a policy the tendency of which would be to 
encourage slaves to form industrious habits and exercise intelli- 
gence, by securing them palpable benefits therefrom ; which would 
discourage idleness and improvidence, as well as other vices, by 
punishments which they would dread, making grades, perhaps, 
from the utterly low slave upward, to what rank here, those gov- 
erning would determine, but to freedom and the most complete 
fair play somewhere else if not here; and every step upward, 
an object to be desired by those below ; every lapse through the 
vices of slavery, or the weaknesses alleged of the negro nature, 
distinctly and surely to be apprehended disagreeably. And 
together with this, the encouragement of denser and more 
completely furnished communities of citizens. (Jefferson pro- 
posed to the constitutional convention of Virginia to give free 
passage, and offer special inducements to whites to come to 
Virginia.) 

It will be said, of course, that however practicable in Jeffer- 
son's time, nothing of this kind is so now, since the demand for 
cotton has quadrupled the value of slaves. It is for this reason 
now practicable, if not before. There is no slave so valuable 
that he could not make himself more valuable, if he knew how, 
and chose to be more valuable. Increase his industry and in- 
telligence, and he becomes more valuable. Punish him as now, 
but more systematically and effectually for laziness, stupidity, 
and carelessness, but hold before him a sure reward for industry, 



THE DANGEE OF THE SOUTH. 483 

study of his allotted duty, and perseverance in it, and lie will 
share all the larger interests of his master, and be equally anxi- 
ous with him for the suppression of disorder in lower and more 
vicious classes than his own. There is many a negro who is now 
considered a dangerous, or at least a "rascally" fellow, whose 
labor brings not four bales of cotton a year, who, if he saw hard 
fare and a well organized and thorough penal system on one 
side, and freedom, or a sure progress toward it for himself and his 
family on the other, with luxuries meanwhile, could and would 
make his labor worth as much as seven bales of cotton a year. 
In half a dozen years, the difference would be equal to his pres- 
ent value. At the same time, his personal interest at stake in 
the maintenance of the existing system of government, and of 
peace and order, would be yearly and daily increasing. 

The task method of working slaves which prevails in much of 
South Carolina and Georgia, proves, in my judgment, that what 
would seem the most serious difficulty in such a system amounts 
to nothing, when self-interest is once felt to be engaged in its 
success, for the common overseers, men who can not read and 
write themselves, allot the tasks to the slaves, and seldom fail to 
have them executed.* On the other hand, where the system has 
once become established, it is found very difficult and not very 
profitable, to force the slaves to work more for their master than 
the custom. Give custom the sanction and penalties of law, and 
let the community feel its peace to be endangered by a disregard 
of the law, and there would be certainly less knavery and cruelty 
to the negro than now ; more wealth with less care to the master. 

* See pages 434 to 446, Sea-board Slave States. 



INDEX. 



A. 

Abolition, prospect of, in Virginia de- 
Btroyed by domestic slave trade, i., 
284 ; effect of low prices of cotton in 
promoting, 379. 

Abolitionists have not prevented aboli- 
tion, i., 284; conversation with a black, 
676 ; one in Mississippi, iii., 177. 

Absenteeism^ iii., 119. 159. 

Acadienf!, or poor French habitans in 
Louisiana, i., 073, 682. 

Agriculture, scientific, on a farm on 
James Elver, i., 40; constant super- 
vision of slaves, 44; annual value of 
products in Virginia, at EevoluMon, 
271 ; improvement in Virginia after 
Eevolution, 275 ; rude and primitive 
character of, in Texas, ii., 416 ; in 
Northern Virginia, iii., 274. 

Agric'ultwriHt, The Southern, extract 
from, iii , 59, 69. 

Alabama, experience of, i., 574 ; ^reat 
portion of still forest, 574 ; condition 
of planters, 575; picture of decay by 
one of her statesmen, 577. 

Alabama river, voyage down the, i., 549 ; 
passengers, 559 ; wastefulness and 
jovialty of the black crew, 564. 

Alexandria, La. — immorality of its resi- 
dents jocosely described, i., 631 ; mix- 
ture of races bv intermarriase, 638. 

Alligators, ii., 366"; their holes, ^392. 

Amalgamation, i., 58-3, 601, 

^«2e/'/ca7?s— emigration of, to Texas, its 
commencement, ii., 408; motives of 
the colonists, 410. 

Annexation of Mexican territory, obsta- 
cles to future, ii., 464. 

Ashland, residence of Clay, ii., 17. 

Aristocratic style of living in colonies 
of Virginia, i., 248 ; form of govern- 
ment, popularity of, in South Carolina, 
491 ; learning in early legislation of 
South Carolina, 496 ; " swell-heads," 
iii., 25, 85. 

Artesian Wells, unsuccessful attempts to 
construct in the desert, ii., 449. 

Auction sale of slaves at Eichmond, i. 30. 

Austin, capital of Texas, ii., 110; wretched 
inns, 111 ; imposing appearance of the 
legislature, 112; high prices, etc., 114. 

B. 

Bacon raising, iii., 47. 
Balsam Mouniain, iii., 252; scenery, 256. 
Barton, Dr., quoted, iii., 343, 387. 
Bill of fare, iii., 127. • 



Blach Code, cruelty of, in the early his 

tory of South Carolina, i., 496. 
Boat-songs of the black hands on the 

steamboats, i., 608. 
Books, dangerous, iii., 452. 
Bounty lands, ii., 494 
Brandon Eepublican, extract from, iii., 

285. 
Brazos river, bottom-lands, richness of, ii., 

360, 
Breeding slaves for sale, in Virginia, i., 

55 ; at the South generally, iii., 411 ; 

degeneracy of, 422. 
Brooks, P. S., iii., 442. 
Business men, " important to," iii., 18. 

C. 

California, cattle-trains, ii., 274. 

Camping out, ii., 80, 85, 95, 306; severity 
of the cold, 86. 

Cape Fear River, valley of, i., 373. 

Capital trsai&f&WQdi, iii., 321; with north- 
ern men, 324. 

Cartwright, Pro/, discourse of, iii., 94; 
quoted, 437. 

Cavaliers, English, their part in colonizing 
Virginia, i., 235. 

Cemeteries, negro, i., 405; epitaphs, 407. 

Census — inaccuracy of returns from South 
Carolina, i., 513 ; of Texas by coun- 
ties, ii., 472; returns of land, stock, 
products, etc., in 1850, 475, 479; of 
1850. extract from, iii., 100 ; returns of 
propert}^ 471. 

Central Texas, ii., 424 ; census of, by 
counties. 472; commerce of, 4Si) ; con- 
stitution of Texas, ii., 485; chronolog- 
ical history, 468. 

Character of southern industry wasteful 
and unsystematic, i., 146. 

Chappecai, described, ii., 148. 

Charleston, S. C, peculiar features of, i., 
404 ; Standard, extracts from, iii., 286, 
368; Mercury, extracts from, 860. 362. 

Cheerlessvess of a Texan planter's home 
described, ii., 116, 122. 

Children — bad effects on from intercourse 
with slaves, i., 403 ; iii., 179. 

Chinese coolies, economy of, employed in 
rice culture, i., 488. 

Church ediflres value of iii., 101. 

CinciniKiti', ii. 7; feverish bustle of, 8. 

Civil war between whites and free blacks, 
in a county of east Texas, ii., 887. 

Classes at the North and South, iii., 45, et 
seq. 

Clay, Cassius 3r., his reputation in Ken- 
tucky, ii., 10. 



INDEX 



486 



Climate, suitable for rice culture, 1., 462 ; 
southern not necessarily debilitating 
to wliites. 5S6, 5S9 ; of Texas, ii., 411 ; 
summer breezes, 412 ; " northers,'' 412; 
recent changes in Western Texas, 446 ; 
increase of moisture, 446; supposed 
cause, 447; of the back highlands, iii., 
221 ; of Louisiana bottom-lands, 342. 

Clothing of .slaves, in Eiclimond, i., 27 ; in 
Virginia, 112 ; in back country, iii., 79. 

Coast prairies., ii., 245, 364; miserable 
roads across, 246, 865 ; a mule stranded, 
251. 

Colo)nzation, an advocate of, iii., 262 ; 
slavery a svstem of, 291. 

Cohr, iii., 9i(, 18S. 

Colorado river, clearness of, scenery along 
the banks of, ii., 109. 

Cohfrn'm-s, Georgia, and its manufactures, 
i., 54S. 

Comforts of life, amount of, enjoyed re- 
spectively by slaves and free laborers, 
i., 6SS; erroneous ideas current on this 
subject, 701. 

Commercial inactivity of the South, 
cause of, i., 139 ; story illustrative of, 
141. 

Condition of the slaves of a philanthropic 
Mississippi p'antcr, as described by 
himself, i. 697 ; superior comfort en- 
joyed by the inmates of our State 
prison, 700. 

Cons-id er ant's attempt to found a colony, 
failure of, ii., 285. 

Coppe-; scarcity of coin at the South, ii., 
367; in Tennessee, iii., 243. 

Corn, shiftless manner of storing, ii., 238. 

Cost, comparative, and profits of a grazing 
farm and cotton plantation, ii., 205; of 
negro living, iii., 41, 52; of labor in 
Tir2;i nia and New York, 295 ; of slaves, 
374- of mails. 472 

Cotton, cheapness of likely to accelerate 
abolition, i., 379 ; reckless loading on 
steamboats, 550; hauling, ii., 60; 
hauling on heavy roads, 239 ; supe- 
riority when raised by free labor, 
182 ; plantation near the coast, 243; 
a man, iii., 11 ; hillside culture, IS ; 
first-rate plantation, 46 ; gi owing, 130 ; 
farmers, 206; northern-most fields of, 
221; in Mississippi, 294; economics 
of. 806 ; raising by whites, -^28 ; tillage 
of, 338 ; comparative profit, 850 ; in- 
creased production, 354. 

Counties of Georgia, statistics of, iii., 314 ; 
of Virginia, .statistics of, 331. 

Coxmtru—wwQquaX surface in Texas, ii., 
411; character of, iii., 17; near Nat- 
chez, 8t; in Alabama, 162; iu North- 
ern Alabama. 205; on the Tomahila, 
247 ; about Abington, Va., 273. 

Court, a, in Louisiana, i.. 646. 

" Crackers,'' or poor whites of Georgia, 1., 
413, 457, 505. 

C/'eo/f.v, Spanish, i., 632; French- African, 
633 ; characteristics of. 634, 648. 

Criminals, comparative number, iii., 102 ; 
punishment in Tcnnc^Sfe, 246. 



Crops*, exaggerated accounts of, to stran- 
gers, ii., 244 ; forwardness in Texas in 
April, 358; value, iii., 20 : sold in ad- 
vance. 29; in the hiijhlands, 221; in 
Virginia, 274; statistics of, 340. 

Cruelty, reputed of masters of Soutli Caro- 
lina, i., 499; considered essential to 
support of authority, 617 ; of owners, 
680; of French planters, 680; of 
Northern owners, ii., 199. 

CiCban Annexation, its probable ruinous 
effect on sugar-planting in Louisiana, 
i.,654. 

Cumberland, Maryland, coal mines of, ii., 
3 ; iron works on the river, 32. 

Cumherland River, steamboat voyage up 
the, ii,, 30 ; refusal to take a slave as 
freight, 34. 

D. 

Daily Xew.% the London, Extract from, 
iii., 61 ; letter in, 408. 

Dnvtj, Dr. John, on Barbadoes, iii., 123. 

Day Book, the, iii., 385. 

De Bote, Mr., View of the United States, 
iii., 101; quoted, 298, 300; Eeview 
quoted, 310, 451 ; on labor, 361 ; re- 
sources of the South, 397, 473 ; review 
of previous volume, 398 ; on negroes, 
438 ; Review on text-books, 452. 

Decay of South Carolina, as described by 
De Bow, i., 519 ; the opening of the 
African slave trade declared essential 
to her prosperity, 521. 

Deterioration of the agricultural Interest 
of Virginia, as described by a Vir- 
ginian, L, 167. 

Diseases pr6valent among slaves exclu- 
sively, i., 192 ; malaria, yellow fever, 
11 , 413. 

Dismal Swamp, the, i., 149 ; lumber trade 
of, 151 ; character and mode of life 
of slaves employed as lumbermen, 
155 ; profits realized from draining, 
156; a p'ace of refuge for runaway 
slaves, 159 ; mode of hunting them, 
161. 

Dissolution of the Union, iii., 457; conse- 
quences of, 459. 

District of Columbia, prices of land, 1 , 13 ; 
proportion of free laborers to slaves. 

Dogs, iii., 214 ; beasts of prey, 225 ; criti- 
cism of, 246. 

Domestic slave-trade, rise of, in Virginia, 
i,278; injurious effect of upon agri- 
culture in the state, 279 ; better treat- 
ment of .slaves resulting therefrom, 
280 ; decay of the abolition spirit since 
the growth of, 284. 

Domestic slaves, high prices of, 1., 49. 

Draining in the Dismal Swamp, profits of, 
i., 156 ; cane land, 662, 663. 

Drafts on New York, ill , 425. 

Drivers, slave, duties of, i., 436; ill., 48. 

Dutch-French farmer, a, ii., 402. 

Duties of slaves, Bishop Meadft's di8coarR<> 
upon, 1., 118. 



486 



INDEX. 



E. 

Eagle Pass, ii. 814. 

Early experience of Virginia, i., chap. iv.. 
p. 216. 

Eastern Texas, ii., 423 ; literary destitution 
of, 117 ; comparative poverty of its 
soil, 423. 

Economy, political, of Virginia, i., chap, iii., 
p. 164. - ' . i . 

Edii'jution, inadequacy of public provision 
for in Virginia, i.,'291 ; statistics from 
county reports, 292 ; in South Carolina, 
505; of whites, iii., 116, 130; difficulty 
of popular, 330 ; statistics, 331 ; south 
and north, 417. 

Edxicaiive s?/!^tem, slavery as an, iii., 70, 
116; of children, i., 403 ; iii., 179; of 
the people, 263. 

Elevations above tide-water, table of, Ii. 
4S3. 

Elevation gradual of the negro in slavery, 
L, 106. 

Emancipation of slaves on a plantation 
in Virginia, happy results of, i., 95; Jef- 
ferson's unsuccessful scheme for, 261 ; 
growth of public sentiment favorable 
thereto, at the breaking out of the 
Eevolution, 265 ; a plan of, suggested, 
443. 1- > ao . 

Emigration from the States to Texas, 

early history of. ii., 40S. 
European immigrants, their unpleasant 

position in slave districts, i., 48. 
European politics, a planter's views on, 

ii., 118. 
Expenses, daily, of our party, ii., 83. 

F. 

Famine, danger of in a slaveholding re- 
gion, i., 707 ; extracts from southern 
.iournals during famine 1855, 708; 
silence of southern journals circulating 
at the north, 710; scarcity in 1837, 710. 

Farming, scientific, in Maryland, i., 5; 
drainage and irrigation, 7 ; guano, 
turnips, etc., 8 ; clumsiness of imple- 
ments, 47 ; difficulty of introducing 
new implements, 481. 

" Fast man'''' in Mississippi, iii., 23. 

February weather in Georgia, 1., 411. 

Feeding, iii., 41, 49, 75, 153 ; a horse, 164. 

Field-hands on a rice plantation, classi- 
fication of, i., 433. 

Fillihustering beyond the Eio Grande, ii., 
333. 

Fillmore, Prex., visits an Alabama Planta- 
tion, iii., 163. 

Fire-arms for a journey, ii., 74. 

Fires in the open air, negro fondness for, 
1.. 395. 

'•First families;' iii., 422; at the North, 
423. ' I 

Fisheries of North Carolina, 1., 351 ; cast- | 
ing seines, 852 ; submarine blasting, \ 
853, ' 

Food, quality furnished to slaves in Vir- I 
glnia, i.. 103 ; on a Georgia ric« olanta- ' 



Fort Duncan, on the Eio Grande, ii., 314. 

France,]ahov in, iii., 846. 

Franklin Co., schools in, iii., 40. 

Free negroes in Virginia, i., 125 ; improvi- 
dence and immorality, 127; owners of. 
ii., 886, 899. 

French colony, a, beyond the Eio Grande, 
ii., 276 ; history of its settlements, 277. 

Funeral, negro, in Eichmond, i., 24; 
ludicrous features of, 25. ' 

Future, the, of Virginia, i., 303. 

G. 

Galveston, ii., 424. 

Game, in Western Texas, ii., 223. 

Gentry of South Carolina, intellectual 

condition of. i., 501. 
Geological structure of the state, ii , 411. 
Georgia^ the colony, benevolent design 
of founders, i., 524 ; discontent of the 
settlers, 526; divisions on slaverv 
question, 527; slavery legalized, 523"; 
disastrous consequences "of the step, 
531 ; prosperity of compared with other 
slave states, 529 ; ill-t-uccess of manu- 
factures, 542; compromise concerning 
slave representation, 724; county 
statistics, iii , 314. 

Germans, in South Carolina, 511 ; small 
snobs in America, i., 642 ; colonists con- 
flicting accounts of, ii , 132, 139; neat- 
ness of villages, 140, 279 ; free labor 
cotton, 141, 1S2; New Braunfels, 143; 
Germany in Texas, 143 ; orphan asy- 
lum, 169 ; a savan and reformer, 170; 
sufferings of first immigrants, 171, 176, 
280; original plan of imiaigration, 172; 
cause of failure, 174; statistics of trade, 
etc, 178; schools, newspapers, etc., 
179; prices current, 179; wages, in- 
terest, etc., ISO ; population,^" births, 
deaths, 181 ; a farmer, 184; recent ar- 
rival from Bavaria, 189; Sisterdale, 
191 ; a judge, 192 ; farming operations, 
195 ; h\-dropathy, 195 ; German exiles, 
196; their contentment, 199; Fred- 
ericksburg, 201 ; situation in Victoria, 
241 ; sympathy with fugitive slaves, 
328 ; number in the state, 428 ; char- 
acter of first settlers, 428; political 
exiles, 429; faults, 480; want of polit- 
ical influence, 431 ; anti-slavery prin- 
ciples, 432; dislike by slaveholders, 
433 ; fate of a German anti-slavery 
journal, 434; moderation of their 
views on slavery, 439 ; a speculator, 
iii., S3 ; in Natchez, 89 ; in Texas, 178 ; 
raising cotton in Texas, 350 ; iu Mis- 
souri, 860. 

Glue via n7(.facfurer, 'tis reasons for em- 
ploying whites, i., 871. 

Goliad, ii., 263; the old fort and mission, 
263 ; the good priest, 264. 

Grazing far^n, costs and profits of, ii., 205, 
460. 

Grazier, Texan, primitive mode of living, 

Grogg, IFw. //;, quoted, iii., S03, 821, 223 ; 
b'« plan. S5fl. 



INDEX 



48' 



Ouadalupe RUer. beauty of, ii.,194 ; vajley 

of, 210 ; fording the stream, 211 ; rich 

bottom-lands of, 'i:W. 
(hiano, etfccts of on the exhausted lands 

of Virginia, i., -IS, lOo. 
H. 
Harper, Chancellor, quoted, iii., 3T8, 479. 
i/a/high prices of, in Kichinond, i 41 ; 

in South Carolina, 378 ; prospect for, 

Ueaiul bodily, effect of such a horseback 

journey upon the, ii-, 380. 
Hedges, roadside, iii., 13, 14. 
Herd>i of cattle and horses m Western 

Louisiana, ii., 393. ,, 

Herdsmen of Eastern Texas, ii., 3bo. 
Hightcai/.s and byways, iii., 2o7. 
Hogs, raising of, iii., 224. 
HomochiUo ferry, iii-, 33. 
Honesty, striking instances of among 

slaves, i 447. _ 

i/t>/-.ve.v in Natchez, iii., 8. ; m the high- 

HospSaTii>// iii., 26, 32, 42; a matter of 
business. 176; in Tennessee, 233; at 
the South, 392; specimen of. 401 ; at 
the North, 405 ; in Alabama, 408 ; ot a 
iudge, 410. 

Hotels; miserable accommodations at 
AVashington, i.. 1; at the South, 305, 
335 643; impositions on travelers, 309 ; 
character of in Texas, ii , 60,_102, 111, 
250,259, at Woodville, iii., 1*; young 
waiter, 212; in Tennessee, 244; in 
Abington, Va., 273. , 

Rouses of the slave population .m Vir- 
ginia i., Ill; construction ot, in h.ast- 
Irn South Carolina, 3S5; Southern, 
want of protection against cold, 409. 

//ou.stoH, beauty of ii., 361. _ 

Hunting a runaway slave, u., 2o6 , m the 
back country, iii., 216. 



I. 

Ignorance of a postmaster, ii., 89 ; of a 
^ boy, iii., 171 ; of his father, 172 ; of 
whites, 240, 250; of a respectable 
fanner, 259; of small planters. 353. 
Immiarntion ..f Northern men to Virginia, 
arguments for, i., 174 ; foreign, aver- 
sion of to slave slates. 5S5; overland 
from older states, ii., 56; Polish. 270; 
from Europe, need of organization for, 
282 
Jmmornlity and improvidence of free 
blacks in Virginia, i- f^i; of poor 
white women in South ( arolina, OOS. 
Impetuosity of Southerners, iii., 414. 
Increase of the slave population, ii., 4ib. 
Indians, an encampment of, ii., 2Sb ; bru- 
talized condition of the savages, i.^y ; 
a perilous ride with their chief, 29. i ; 
Indian massacres, 294; number and 
present condition of the Indians in 
Texas, 295; po-ssibility of civilizing 
them discus3ed,297 ; uselessness of gov- 
ernmput troop"* to pi«vont ludian out- 



rages, 299 ; the old Texan rangers, oOO ; 
Indians not accustomed to use figura- 
tive lansnage, 303; their msolence to- 
Avards tiie Mexicans, 351 ; in Louisiana, 
401 ; colonization, 495 ; as hired la- 
borers, iii., 174. 

Indiannlt, Texas, ii., 253; its competition 
with Lavacca, 254. 

Indifference of many slaves to freedom. 

Indolence of negro slaves, ii., 242. 
Industry of slaves increased by rewards, 

Insl'S!'i2.xiovi&, ii., 312, 337, 404 _ 

Insurance, system of, proposed, against 

loss of fugitive slaves, ii., 331. 
Insurrection, prospects of, iii., 376 ; slaves 

inclined to, 474. 

Intellect, north and south, m., 464, 46J, 

470 
Internal improvements in North Carolina, 

i 361; '^Northern intermeddling 

found agreeable, 362; advantage of 

plank roads, 365. 
Iron-ioorks on the Cumberland Paver, u., 

32 ; wages, etc., 33. 
Irrigatio7i\n Mexico, ii , 340. 
Italians in Natchez, iii., 39. 

J. 

Jeferson, r/(«w a.*, abolition of primogeni- 
■' ture, entail and slavery part ot his 
scheme at Revolution, i., 259 ; views 
of slavery in private correspondence, 
262; plan of educational system, 2bi ; 
description of poor whites at Keyolu- 
tion, 267; necessity of popular educa- 
tion 268; destruction of plantation 
system and slavery as necessary 
thereto, 291. 

Jerked beef, ii., 382. 

JcAcs in Texas, their readiness to capture 
fugitive slaves, ii., 329. „ , „ ^, 

''Jodeir the musical yell of the South 
Carolina negro, i., 394. _ 

Jones, Rev. C. C, on religious instruction 
of slaves, iii.. 111. .. 

Jurymen, disqualifying in Texas, ii., 127. 



Kansas as a slave state, lu., 361. 

Kentucky farms, ii., 14; fertility of, 20. 

Kentuckians, stalwart proportions ot, U., 
20. 

L. 

Labor of slaves more costly than of wlutes, 
i., 10, 95, 185, 205, 721 ; waste of, (19 ; 
superiority of white, 203, 205,_ 3(1; 
hours of, iii., 49, SO; competition of 
f-eewith slave, ISO; disadvantage ot 
slave, 226; slave and free. 268; extra- 
ordinary value of. 294; of slavesprotit- 
ablein Miss, 296; of whites in hot 
climates, 29S ; contempt tor among 
free men. 299 ; economy of free, 340, 
85:3 ; supply in the south, 861 ; in- 
creased profits of, 373. 



488 



INDEX. 



Laborers, free, erroneous ideas concerning, 
1., 200 ; demonilization of northern, 209 ; 
free of New Orleans, superiority to 
■vvbite laborers of tlie soutli senerallv. 
587. '^ ^' 

Land, price of in District of Columbia, i., 
13 ; early monopoly in South Carolina, 
496; restrictions on monopoly in 
Georgia, 526; monopoly in Alabama, 
676; locating, ii., 59; insecurity of 
titles, 875; cotton, pasture, etc., in 
Texas, 415. 
Lavaccu, Port, ii., 248; wretched inn, 250. 
Lmc for the protection of the slave, regard 
for i., 637 ; disregard of in Louisiana, 
651 ; the lower, iii., 29. 
LegUlalian, early, of South Carolina, aris- 
tocratic features of i., 493; union of 
church and state, 494; political pro- 
scription of foreigners, 495. 
LegUldUve body in session, ii., 112. 
Lexin(ft(>n,ls.y., ii., 16; Ashland, 17; ob- 
jections to as a residence, 18. 
Liberty, civil and religious, doctrine of in 
Virginia at the revolution, i., 255 ; sub- 
sequent abandonment, 256. 
Lice7itiouime8K, comparative at North and 

South, i., 600. 
Limestone formation of the hills of the 

interior, ii., 188, 214. 
Liquor, traffic with slaves, evils of, i.,439 ; 
habit of pilfering articles to exchange 
for it, 440. 
Literature, condition of in the South, i., 

172; in Eastern Texas, ii., 117. 
Live oak, avenue of, i., 417 ; the, ii., 130. 
Lorettes. the, of New Orleans, i., 595 ; a 
quasi marriage, 596 ; economy of the 
system, 593. 
Loui'sianian, the, extract from, iii., 363. 
Louisiana, regard for legal rights of slaves 
in, 1., 637 ; economy of, 664, 686 ; decay 
of western, ii., 62; descendants of 
Spanish settlers, 23; cattle, horses, 
crops, etc., 893. 
LotdHviUe, Ky., ii., 22. 
Lumbermen,' &\a,Ye, their life in the swamp 
i., 153. ^' 

Lumber-trade in the Dismal Swamp, i., 

151. 
Lying, vice of, almost universal among 
slaves, i., 116. 

M. 

Madison, Jame.% on slave trade, iii., 478. 

Magnolia, beauty of ii., 362. 

Mail, carrying, ii'i., 248. 

Maine Law advocated at the South, to 
restrain the slaves from drinking, i. 
441. "" ' 

Malaria of the rice-coasts, i., 418; in- 
stances of its deadly nature, 419. 

Manufactures, impossibility of employ- 
ing slaves in, i., 104; absence of in 
colonial Virginia, 241; why not flour- 
ishing in slave communities, 251 ; de- 
pressed state in Virginia, 542, 



Manners, coarse, of Texans, ii., 384, 
Manual labor at the North, increasing 
aversion to, caused by slavery, i., 712. 
Marion quoted, iii., 478. 
Mai-kets of Washington, scanty stocks in 
trade, high prices, etc., i., 12; of Sa- 
vannah, 414. 
Marriaae, disregard of among slaves, i., 
556 ; objections of a Louisiana mulatto 
to, 635. 
Mechanics, slave, skill of, i., 426 ; northern 

tables showing earnings, etc., 704. 
Medical Survey, iii., 77. 
Mesquit grass in Western Texas, good for 

pasturage, ii., 135; tree, 148. 
Meteorological observations, ii., 484. 
Methodints of the northern South, iii.. 

270. 
Mexican annexation, a Texan ranger's ob- 
jections to, ii., 126; travel, 336; irri- 
gation, 340 ; roads, 340 ; a home, 345 ; 
cookery, 349; insolence of Indians 
towards, 357 ; territory, obstacles to 
future acquisition of 454. 
Mexicans, antipathy between whites of 
slave-states and, ii., 126, 456 ; in Texas, 
manners of, 161 ; occupations, 161 ; 
political inferiority and oppression of, 
163, 245. 265; number of 164; Mexi- 
can ranches, 271; primitive farming, 
272 ; Mexican town, a, 817 ; the alcalde, 
321 ; passports, 322 ; mode of laying 
out their towns, 340; military disci- 
pline, 838. i ■ 
Mexico, Americans in, iii., 172. 
Military condition of the South, iii., 460 ; 

spirit, 468 ; forces, 470. 
MiWs political economy, extracts from, iii., 

289,432. 
Mineral wealth of Virginia, i., 165. 
Mirage, the, ii., 168. 

Missionary system, slavery as a, iii,, 65. 
Missions, old Spanish, ii., 154. 
Mississippi river, passage down the, ii., 
38; gambling on the boat, 39; uni- 
formity of scenery, 39 ; small propor- 
tion of the valley settled, 40 ; valley 
of the Hudson compared, 41 ; river at 
Natchez, iii., 37. 
Missouri, vote in, iii., 359. 
Mobile, Alabama, i., 565; scarcity of 

tradesmen and mechanics, 566. 
Mobile Register, extract from, iii., 363. 
Molasses, iii., 51 ; "them," 242. 
Money, ways of earning among slaves, i., 

Moore, Governor, of Alabama, on th* 
slave trade, iii., 370. 

Morals of white children, injury to, pro- 
duced by intercourse with slaves, i . 
403. ' ' 

Mountains, height of in Tennessee, iii., 
257. 

JLule packing, our contrivance and suc- 
cess, ii., 71. 

Music, universal taste for, among the 
blacks, i., 551. 

Mustangs, vast herds of, ii., 448. 

Mustang grape, ii., 286. 



INDEX. 



489 



N. 

l^^acogdocTies, La., ii., 78; difficulty of pro- 
curing needful supplies for our jour- 
ney, 80. 
Kamts of slaves, iii., 88. 
JfTanhviUe, Tenn., ii., 35 ; beauty of the cap- 

itol, 36 ; cultivated society of, 36. 
NaU-hez. iii., 34 ; blutf, 31 ; literature, 38 ; 

Italians in, 39 ; advantages. 40. 
Neh) tixkit, " annexation" of, iii., 235, 240 ; 

bill, 272. 
Kech,^-^ iicei\ ii., 82; bottoms overflowed, 

376 ; attempt to ford them, 378. 
iV^eo/'oe.v free in Virginia, i., 125; improvi- 
dence, 127; in Te.vas, iii., 22; shooting, 
of, 62; moral education of, 89; im- 
piovement, 181; religious service in 
ISew Orleans, 187; allowance, 201 ; 
need watching, 227; raising of in Vir- 
ginia. 2S4 ; feticity of, 381 ; fieldhands, 
4:^2; despair of, 443; burning of, 443, 
445. 
Nexo England settlers, ii., 358 ; industry 

of, 359. 
N&io Otlean.% first impressions of, i., 578; 
the French quarter, 580; the cathedral, 
5s2 ; mixture of races, 583. 
NetD Yorkeri^, civility of, iii., 238 ; fond of 

"novels," 277. 
Norfolk, Virginia, filthiness of, i., 136 ; 
"natural advantages of for trade and 
commercf, 137. 
^orth Carol inn, the fisheries, i., 351 ; in- 
ternal improvements, 361 ; ignorance 
and idleness of the people, 866; mild 
aspect of slavery in the state, 367. 
JsTorthtu stern Texiif, attractions of, ii., 
420 ; energetic character of its inhab- 
itants, 420'; fine wheat lands of, 421 ; 
population of, 422. 
"iVo/'^/ie/V a, ii, 99,168; interruption of 
labor caused by, 108 ; rapid fall of the 
mercury, 138; a "norther" accom- 
panied "by rain, 228. 
Northern men as slaveholders, seventy of, 

ii., 119. 
Nott, Dr. J. C, quoted, iii., 842. 

0. 

Oak openings of Kentucky, ii., 10, 19. 

Ohio river, scenery on the banks ot, u., 5, 
24. 

Opelousafi, La., ii., 405. 

(7oi«io"-S' of southern people on slavery, 
iii., 179, 203, 239, 259, 263, 270, 300 ; in 
regard to the North, 4(:5. _ 

Oversea Tfi, Virginia, inefliciency of, i., 
205; in the rice-districts of Georgia, 
universal bad character of 486 ; their 
unlimited power over the slaves, 487 ; 
at home, iii., 44 ; wages, 57, 73 ; char- 
acter, 81 ; one of the roughs, 174. 

P. 

Pacific railroad, obstacles to, ii., 449. 
Panics, " nigger," iii., 203. 
Passage fioni New York to Texas, cost 
of, ii., 461. 



Pasturage, excellence of mesquit grass, 

ii., 135. 
Patent Medidnes, iii., 45. 
Patriarchal system, iii., 287. 
Peon slavery, ii.. 334. 
Phillips, M. IF., iii., 58. 
Plank-roads in North Carolina, i., 865. 
Plantations, an ideal one, i., 692; houses 
and food, 693; clothing, labor, 694; 
discipline, 695; marriage, sickness, 
696 ; a well ordered one, ii., 131 ; 
breaking up prairie, 134; abandoned, 
iii., 19; slaves on, 28; view of first- 
rate one, 46, 72; work-house, 76; in- 
terior, 160 ; whites on, 377. 
Planter, the Cotton, extract from, iii.. 58. 
Planters, trials described by a southern 
man, i., 717; Texan, cheerlessness of 
their homes, ii., 116, 122; style of 
French, 894 ; samples of, iii., 15 ; 
character, 27, 73, 120 ; in the interior, 
160 ; style of living, 396 ; honesty, 
428. 
Ploiv girls, \\\., 81. 
Polish immigrants, ii., 270. 
Poor whites\>f Virginia, i., 83 ; condition 
of in South Carolina, 4(t5 ; immoral- 
ity of the women, 508 ; compared 
with Romans in their decline, 51.o ; in- 
jury to the planter from illicit trade 
with slaves, 674 ; chicken thieves, 
675; of Mississippi, iii., 20, 33, 75; 
night with, 197 ; at work, 208 ; vaga- 
bond, 219 ; laborers. 228 ; shiftlessness, 
229, 297 ; at the North, 415 ; irritation 
against, 449. 
Pork-packing in Cincinnati, ii., 9. 
Post-oak,th^,\\.,S^. ^ n^n 

Prairies, specimen of, ii., 98; on fire, 216; 
difliculty of subduing flames, 218; on 
the coast, 245. ^ ^ ^ „„ 

Preachers, negro, i., 450 ; iii., 186, 188, 
192 ; character, iii., 216 ; restraint on 
white. 115. 
Press, spirit of the, ii., 497 ; the southern 

on remedies, 362. 
Prices, enormous in Austin, ii., 114; of 

provisions, 84, 237. 
Pride of a slave in his master's position, 

i., 558. 
Primogeniture and entail, laws of, repealed 

in Virginia, i., 258. 
Products, census of agricultural m IbOO, 
ii., 475, 479. ^ ^ 

Property, basis of representation in South 
Carolina, i., 498 ; valuation for taxa- 
tion, ii., 478; considered, iii., 324. 
Proprietors, of colony of Virginia, i., 234; 

love of rule, 235. . 

Prosperity, relative, of Georgia explained, 
i.. 529. 

K. 

Races, mixture of at New Orleans, i., 583. 

Racing on Eed river, i., 613. 

Railroads, southern, bad management of, 

i., 52, 183, 307; South Carolina, 818; 

Georgia, superiority, 546; Baltimore 

and Ohio, ii., 2; the Pacific, 449; in 



490 



INDEX. 



prospect, iii., 234, 251. Virginia and 
Tennessee, 273 ; labor on, 849 ; North 
and Soutb, 472. 

Raleigh^ North Carolina, i., 318 ; beauty 
of pinewoods near, 319. 

RecrentioriH of southern negroes. 1., 101. 

Red landH of eastern Texas,"ii., 67 ; cheer- 
less aspect of the country, 68. 

Red rive/; voyage up, i., 603; sleeping 
arrangements^ GU; life of firemen on 
the boats, 612 ; fertility of river bot- 
tom, 62S ; passage up, ii., 44 ; visit to 
plantation on, 46; dinner, 49; treat- 
ment of croup, 50. 

ReligioiK want of reverence in discussing, 
i., 453 ; of slaves, iii., 92, 105, 145 ; of 

Col. 132; among southern ladies, 

184; of slaves deceptive, 186; contri- 
butions to, 428. 

ReU(iioii)i\ns,tv\\G\\on of slaves,!., 106; their 
spiritual condition, 113; their prefer- 
ence for "immersion'" 114; their be. 
havior at religious services, 449 ; des- 
titution of the South, 452, 510 ; a ser- 
vice among the " crackers]' of Georgia, 
454 ; supporter of slaver}'', rebuff to a, 
607; service in New Orleans, iii., 187 ; 
service in a family, 241. 

Religious Herald, the Richmond extract 
from, iii., 109. 

Repvexentdtion in the Assembly of South 
Carolina, property basis of, i., 498; 
slave in the Georgia legislature, com- 
promise concerning, 724. 

Repndidtion of state debt, effect on rail- 
roads, ii., 416. 

Repugnance of whites to associating with 
blacks in free and slave states, i.,316. 

RepuMve appearance of negroes on a 
Carolina plantation, i., 887. 

JSeso?</v<?,v of Virginia, i., 166; neglect of 
early settlers, 248. 

Resurrection, industrial andsocial, of Vir- 
ginia, plans for, i., 287. 

Revolution, the American, object in, of the 
upper classes of Virginia, i., 253 ; the 
spirit in, iii., 461; escape of slaves in, 
477. 

Rice district of the Atlantic coast, 1.. 465 ; 
culture of, preparing soil, climate, 
freshets and drowth, sowing, plowing, 
trenching, etc., 462. el seq. ; different 
qualities of, 477; recipe for cooking, 
47S. 

Rice plantatio7h% a model one visited, i., 
418 ; house servants and field-hands, 
421 ; negro quarters, 422 ; nursery for 
black infants, 424; a rice mill, 425; 
burning stubble, 430 ; plowing, 481 ; 
food of the slaves, 432 ; field gangs, 432 ; 
work done by tasks, -184 ; a day^'s task, 
484; important duties of drivers, 436; 
limitaiion of power of punishment, 438 ; 
trade on the plantation, 442; marriages 
and funerals, 448; healthiness of those 
in Louisiana, 468. 

Richmond, Va., i., 19 ; the capitol, 20; the 
Public Guard, 20; lloudon's Wash- 
ington, 22 : appearance, drtiss and man- 



ners of citizens, 50 ; street-sights, etc., 
51 ; Religious Herald, quoted, iii., 
109 ; referred to, 279 ; Crawford mon- 
ument, 2S0; Examine/; quoted. 438. 

Ride from San Antonio to the coast, ii., 
227 

Rio Grande, general barrenness of region 
traversed b^-, ii., 314, 341 ; crossing the, 
319; scarcity of water, 442; dryness 
of climate, 445 ; the river and vallev, 
451. 

Rive/'H of Texas useless for commerce, ii., 
90. 

Roads in Mexico, ii., 340. 

Robberies, iii. 18. 

Roules to Texas, ii., 4-3, 55. 

Ruffin, 31 r., quoted, iii.. 821. 

Ruin, gradual, of old Virginia planters, i., 
278. 

Runaivays passing for whites i.. 640 ; treat- 
ment of, ii., 105 ; a hunt, 256 ; in Mex- 
ico, 325 ; sufferings of in escaping, 827; 
plans for puttip.g an end to escape of, 
831 ; man;;led condition of one recap- 
tured, 862 ; described, iii., IS, 80, 47 ; 
hunting of, 55, 214; common, 79; loss 
by, 455 ; death of one, 474 ; freebooters, 
476. 

Russell, Mr., quoted, iii., 327, 387, 341. 

S. 

Sabine river crossing, ii., 388 ; swimming 
a drove of horses across, 389; "bog"- 
ging ' cattle. 390. 

Saiid-Jtille/'s, the, of Georgia, i., 414, 506 ; 
compared with Cape Cod fishermen, 
588 ; of South Carolina, 506. 

San Antonio .spring and river, ii., 156. 

San A/itonio de Bexar, ii., 149; the vari- 
ous nationalities reprfKcnted in its 
population, 150 ; the plaza, 150 ; pic- 
turesque aspect of the city, 151 ; Mex- 
ican women, 15i; trade, 152; the 
missions, 154; the suburbs, l.^G : street 
fights, 158 ; amusements, 159 ; popu- 
lation, 159. 

San Fernando, Mexico, il., 341. 

San Marcos river, richness of the valley 
of, ii., 136. 

Santa Fe mail train, ii., 287. 

Savannah, Georgia, appearance of, i., 
405. 

Schools, public in Virginia, i , 291 ; in 
Mississippi, iii., 25; in South Carolina, 
304. 

Scotch immigrants in North Carolina, i., 
355. 

Scripture singularly interpreted by a 
backsliding negro, i , 123. 

Settle/s, early, of Western Texas, bad 
character of, ii., 124 ; refugees from 
justice, 125. 

Sha/'p's rifles for deer-hunting, ii., 214. 

Sheep, instance of great mortality among, 
from exposure on the prairies, ii., 
258. 

Ship-building, amount of, in the free and 
slave states compared, i., 540. 

" Show i.lantations," i^ 412. 



INDEX 



491 



Sickneft.9 of slaves, real or assumed, losses 

of the planter from, i., 1S6. 
Sisterdaie (a German settlement), u., 

191. .. „ 

Sl(ni(/ phrases at the South, u., n- 
Slave-holders, black, in Louisiana, i., 

641. 
Slave trade, the, iii., 122; southern press 
on, 362 ; Mr. Madison on, 478. See 
Domestic Slave Trade. 
Slovefi, appearance of, iii., 14; food, 41, 50 ; 
on a first-rate plantation, 47; inter- 
course with whites, 71; clothes, 79; 
punishments, 83; religion, 92, 105, 
145 ; religious instruction, 107 ; super- 
stition, 110; one of the pious, 170; 
sense of moral obligation, 188 ; hunt- 
ings of, 216; unprofitable property, 
268 ; with free in household, 268 ; 
classes of, 286 ; happy state of, 381 ; 
insurrection, 474. 
Sleep under difficulties, iii., 167. 
Snake-'', great number of, ii.. 309. 
Society, divisions of, in Virginia, before 

the Revolution, i., 269. 
Soil, exhaustion of. iii., 12 ; nature of, 19 ; 

in the highlands, 222. 
Soldiers, United States, unfitness of for 

preventing Indian outrages, ii., 299. 
Sour Lake, ii.", 376. 

South Carolina, Eastern face of the coun- 
try, 1., 182 ; inhabitants, 384; dwell- 
ings of whites and blacks, 385; field- 
hands, repulsive appearance of, 387 ; 
conversation with a rustic in, 400 ; his 
ignorance, 401 ; constitution of colony, 
493; property basis of representation, 
498; intellectual condition of upper 
classes, 501 ; Tory sympathies during 
Kevolution, 503; inducements to im- 
miirration, .511 ; poor whites compared 
to Roman populace, 515. 
South Carolinian, the, extract from, iii., 

60. 
Sporting farmer, iii., 212. 
Spring, beauty of, on the prairies, ii., 233, 

275. 
Stage-coach travel in North Carolina, i., 

.322 ; in South Carolina, 380. 
Staked Plain, the, or great desert of North 
Western Texas, ii.. 448; want of wood 
and water a fatal obstacle to the Paci- 
fic Railroad crossing it. 449. 
Stampede, a, of our mules, ii., 227 ; of our 

horses, 267. 
Starlight nights, Oeauty of, ii., 808. 
States hereafter to be erected within the 

limits of Texas, ii., 418. 
Slatistifs of the wealth, education, etc., of 

some free and slave states, 1., 534. 
Stealing, almost universal among slaves, 

i, 117. 
Steamhoatf, navigation by in North Caro- 
lina, difficulty of, i., 368; wooding up, 
869 ; on southern ri vers, 603 ; want 
of punctuality, ii., 23; description of 
one, 27 ; getting aground and off, 29. 
Steeds, selection of for our journey, ii., 45, 



Steward, negro, on a rice-plantation, im- 
portant trusts confided to, 1., 426; 
privileges and rewards enjoyed by, 
429. 

Stock-farm, visit to a, ii., 367; milking 
new-milch cows, 368 ; branding calves. 
869 ; injuries to stock from bogs and 
insects, 371 ; prices of cattle and sheep, 
S71 ; breaking colts, 372 ; breed of 
horses, 373. 

Street-fighis in Louisiana, i., 644. 

Suffering fi, frightful, of first German im- 
' migrants, ii., 171, 176, 280. 

'Sugar plantation, described, i., 656 ; the ow- 
ner's popularity, 658: the mansion and 
offices, 659; negro cabins, rations, etc., 
660 ; sugar-making as gambling specu- 
lation, 661 ; difficulties of in Louisiana, 
664: planting the cane, 665; tillage, 
667; grinding cane, 668; readiness of 
slaves to perform the increased labor 
required in the grinding season, 668 ; 
late improvements in sugar making, 
670; the process described, 671; re- 
fining, 672; expense of carrying on a 
sugar plantation, 686 ; making on the 
Lower Guadalupe, ii., 244; great 
amount of land suitable for, 425. 

T. 

Talk, style of, iii., 265. 

Taylor, J. II., quoted, iii., 301. 

Temperature, great fall in, accompanying 
the " norther," ii., 138. 

Tennessee Squire, iii., 233. 

Texas, ranchering in, iii., 21 ; negroes in 
22 ; Germans in, 178 ; Americans in, 
183 ; prospects of, 184 ; emigration to, 
230; gold in, 277; advantages, 278; 
free labor in, 347 ; robbery in, 475. 

Times, N. Y., quoted, iii., 3.52. 

Tlths to lands, insecurity of, ii., 375, 461 ; 
whence derived, 494. 

Tb/^acco, plantation, a, i., 88; reasons for 
not cultivating the finer qualities of, 
91 ; and corn raising, iii., 337. 

Tory party, preponderance of in South 
Carolina, during the revolution, i , 503. 

Travel, insecurity of on Mexican roads, ii., 
•386; conveyance in, iii., 125, 128, 136. 

Treating, in Mississippi, iii., 24. 

Treatment of slaves generally harsher m 
Texas than in the older states, ii., 12:3. 

Trinity river, ii., 90 ; richness of the bot- 
tom lands, 91, 374. 

Tucker, Prof., quoted, iii., 463. 

Tuscaloosa, journey to, iii., 153. 

a. 

Ughazy, the Hungarian Governor of Co- 
morn, farm of, ii., 356. 

Uncle Tom's Cabin, conversation with a 
planter,!., 616. 

University, the, of San Augustine, forlorn 
condition of, ii., 69. 

Utilitarian argument in defense of sla- 
very, 1., 621. 



492 



'^ 



7. 



INDEX, 



Vicksburg^ iii., 125. 
Victoria, villase of, ii., 241 
mieyards of Ohio, ii., 6. ' 
Virginia a member of the assembly, i 
54: slave breeding, 55; economy of! 
chap. 8, p. 164; water power, 165- 
various theories of causes of decay! 
179; their inadequacy, ISl ; why free 
labor has not expelled that of slaves, 
-5y» ; early experience, chap. 4, p. 216 • 
character of early settlers, 216; want 
of laborers, 217; felons transported 
and sold, 223 ; bond-servants, 227 • 
heathen slaves, 231 ; early legislation' 
respecting slavery, 232 ; style of livino! 
among colonial gentry, 243; natural 
endowments and neglect to improve 
them 248; theories of liberty during 
the Eevolution, 255; subsequent re- 
pudiation of liberty, 256 ; primogeni- 
ture and entail, 25S; growin- popular- 
ity ot emancipation during the Revo- 
lution 265 ; Jefferson's planV common 
school system. 267; social orders 
previous to the Eevolution, 269 ; value 
of crops at tliat date, 271 ; destruction 
of fertility of soil, 272 ; ruin of the 
punters 273; decay of agriculture 
owing to domestic slave trade 279- 
schemes for resurrection of the state! 
^8f ; inadequate provisions for schools, 
^91 ; educational statistics, 292; proba- 

timentin, m., 2S0; negro raising in, 284 
Vtrginta EaMern, a ilde in the rural 
districts of, , 59 ; the school house, 64 ; 
old-fields, ' 65 ; a country grocery 
n?H S^ county-seat, 74 ; a night at an 
old plantation, with a churlish host 
^^iio^T ^'''"f'^ laborers, 83; sparse- 
ness of population, 87; a mcetin<'- 
House, 88 ; a tobacco plantation, 88 



Vote, official, of Texas, ii., 482 

^^56? ^''''^ ^""^"^ **" ^^^ Orleans, U ^ 

W. 

Wage.<< sti-iking effect of in making slaves 
ndustrious, i, 355 ; in the back coun- 
try ill., 41 ; of overseers, 57, 73 : of 
Indians, 174; of railroad hands 201 : of 

^IrXTm'^'^'^^""^^^^^'^^^'--- 

^"^ mtm(T' ^2'"'^''°*' '*^*''^ °^' ^^ ^^^^^■ 

'^'^tf slaves' TTi^^ ^"^ ""^'^^ condition 

Waste of power, through lack of judgment 
in slaves, i, 719. 

^«i!^r power of Virginia, i., 165. 

JTeo^^A elements of, naturally possessed 
by the State of Texas, ii., 414 

western Loidsiana, agriculture of, ii., 393 • 
prices of cattle, 393. ' ' ' 

Western Texas, inducements for immi- 
g.-ants, „., 202 ; a German gentleman's 
^r?7^^^« «^,«,«sing it, 203 ; fine pas- 
i"^««v426; Mexican population^ of, 
427; dishkc of planters to settle there 

w,, f' ""l'"^^^^. ''^' ^^^' population, 491. 

Whedmg Litelligejicer, extract from, in!; 

Whipping, iii 82; of a girl, 85. 

312 35! ' '*^*""'' ^^ ^^^'•S'^' "'•' 

WMte.^ ignorance of, iii., 13 ; laborers, 41 
275 ; in southern factories, 357 ; domi- 
neering, 444. ^"liii 

WiUiam, O. P., quoted, iii., 248 

Wine of the mustang grape, ii.,235. 

Wise, Governor, educational plan, iii., 330. 

Woodmlle,ioxxTney to, iii., 12 ; life'at hotel, 

Women j>\owmg, iii., 81 ; shoveling, 208 • 
in the mountains, 231. ' 

Writers, various, on Texas, ii., 495.